The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday summoned senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee again on October 3 for questioning in connection with the school jobs scam in Kolkata, which the party described as an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party to disrupt its planned rally in New Delhi on the same day.
It also exposed the fear in the saffron camp, claimed Banerjee who is set to lead the protest rally in the national capital against the Centre's decision to withhold the state's dues under MGNREGA.
The TMC general secretary, considered number two in the party, shared the letter sent to him by the central agency on X, formerly Twitter.
"Earlier this month, the ED summoned me on a day coinciding with an important coordinating meeting of #INDIA in Delhi. I dutifully appeared and complied with the served summons," he said.
"Now, today yet again, they have served me another summons to appear before them on a day when the protest agitation for West Bengal's rightful dues is scheduled in Delhi on 3rd Oct. This stark revelation unequivocally exposes those who are truly perturbED, rattlED and scarED!" he posted on the micro-blogging site.
Reacting to the allegations, the BJP said the central agencies do not need to consult the TMC before summoning anyone.
Banerjee, along with other party MPs, MLAs and leaders will pay their respects to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in the national capital on October 2 on his birth anniversary.
A TMC delegation will meet Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh on October 3 and place before him the issue of "non-release of dues" under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
The ruling party of West Bengal claimed that the BJP is afraid of the TMC's programme in New Delhi and is trying to scuttle the people's voice.
"@BJP4India , how low will you stoop? First, you withhold the rightful dues of Bengal's people and let them suffer. And now, you're trying to silence the voice of our people by summoning National GS Shri @abhishekaitc through your caged parrot @dir_ed on October 3rd, the day when a protest agitation is to take place in Delhi," the TMC posted on X.
The Supreme Court in 2013 had described the Central Bureau of Investigation, another central probe agency, as a 'caged parrot' while citing evidence of interference in its investigation into the alleged irregularities in the allocation of coalfield licences. At that time, the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre.
The TMC post said, "There's nothing more shameful than witnessing how one of the largest democracies in the world has been reduced to ashes in PM @narendramodi's regime. But like always, we will fight back!"
The BJP rejected the allegations of the TMC.
"If Abhishek Banerjee and the TMC are not afraid of anyone, why are they apprehensive of appearing before the ED? The central agency is right in asking Abhishek Banerjee to appear before it," senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.
Banerjee, who was questioned by ED for nearly nine hours in the teacher recruitment scam earlier on September 13, had then claimed that the interrogation was an effort to prevent him from participating in the coordination committee meeting of opposition bloc INDIA.
Earlier, the two-time TMC MP from Diamond Harbour was questioned by the ED twice in the coal pilferage case in the agency's office in Delhi in 2021 and in Kolkata in 2022. In May this year, he was questioned by the CBI for nine hours in the school jobs scam.