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CBIC clarifies on detention of TMC MP’s wife by customs officers at Kolkata airport

New Delhi: The CBIC Saturday termed “malicious and malafide” the attempts to connect the RTI reply regarding detention of an individual by customs officials at the Kolkata airport with that of detention of wife of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.

“No incident involving Rujira Banerjee wife of Abhishek Banerjee at Kolkata airport has occurred at all”, the CBIC said.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) debunked reports in regional media quoting an RTI which said that no incident involving Rujira Bandhopadhya alias Rujira Banerjee alias Rujira Naroola wife of Abhishek Banerjee at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (NSCBI Airport) has occurred at all.

Abhishek Banerjee is nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The CBIC said Rujira Naroola was intercepted by customs officials in the intervening night of March 15-16, 2019, while passing through Green Channel at NSCBI Airport for checking.

It said the RTI application, which media reports are quoting, dated March 22, sought information concerning detention of Jasmit Ahuja Banerjee (and not about Ms Rujira Naroola) in the night of March 16, 2019 or in early morning of March 17, 2019 (and not in the intervening night of March 15-16, 2019 when the incident described above occurred).

“Accordingly, the reply of RTI was given with respect to the query on Jasmit Ahuja Banerjee. CBIC clarified that the RTI application dated March 22, 2019 filed with CPIO, Office of Commissioner of Customs, Airport Customs House, Kolkata, does not relate to the aforesaid incident involving Ms. Rujira Naroola.

“All attempts being made to connect the RTI reply regarding one Ms. Jasmit Ahuja Banerjee with the aforesaid incident involving Ms. Rujira Naroola are malicious and malafide, the CBIC said.

Naroola, was flying from Bangkok on Thai Airways with Ms. Menka Gambhir and refused to show her passports and get her bags scanned, when asked.

“Naroola instead of cooperating started abusing and threatening Customs Officers with dire consequences. Subsequently, local police officers entered the restricted customs area demanding immediate release of the said two ladies without any checking, thereby obstructing discharge of statutory functions by Customs officers.

The local police further demanded that their VIPs must be allowed to pass through Green Channel without checking, otherwise concerned customs Officers shall be arrested/detained, the CBIC said.

Assistant Commissioner of Customs, NSCBI Airport had lodged a complaint dated March 22, 2019, reporting particulars of the aforesaid incident with Police Station NSCBI Airport, Kolkata.

Writ Petition raising violation of fundamental rights of Customs officers and general public by obstruction caused by West Bengal Police in discharge of statutory functions by the Customs Officers is pending adjudication before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the CBIC said.


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