After CBI notice in coal case, passport controversy returns to haunt Abhishek Banerjee’s wife

A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) got here knocking on Abhishek Banerjee’s doorways to summon his spouse Rujira Naroola in a coal smuggling case, the latter responded, asking them to go to her residence on Tuesday.

Abhishek, typically mocked as “bhaipo” (nephew) by the BJP for his relations to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is a sitting Trinamool Congress MP and main his social gathering’s counter-attack in opposition to the saffron camp. No marvel, Trinamool leaders are crying foul.

Nonetheless, this isn’t the primary time that Rujira has discovered herself in a soup. Born in Bangkok, Rujira carries a Thai passport. Nonetheless, in a number of official paperwork, she has reportedly talked about her nationality as Indian.

The controversy began a few years again when customs officers needed to examine her baggage, citing X-ray detection of a “vital amount of gold”. The Calcutta excessive courtroom in April 2019 granted reduction to Rujira from the customs discover and noticed that she is a Thai nationwide holding an Abroad Citizen of India (OCI) card. The matter remains to be sub-judice.

Following this, the house ministry issued a discover to Rujira for acquiring a Everlasting Account Quantity (PAN) card with out mentioning that she is a citizen of Thailand. The discover additional identified discrepancies in her father’s identify in several cases.

“Whereas, Ms Rujira Naroola, a Thal nationwide, had been issued PIO card No. ******** by Indian Embassy in Bangkok on eighth January 2010, mentioning Mr Niphon Naroola as the daddy within the card,” the discover stated.

“Whereas, Ms Rujira Naroola utilized for conversion of her PIO card into OCI card within the workplace of FRRO, Kolkata and issued the OC card No. ******** on eighth November 2017. One of many supporting paperwork submitted by Ms Rujira Naroola to get her PIO card transformed into an OCI card was a certificates of her marriage with Abhishek Banerjee which was issued by the Hindu Marriage Registrar. Bhavanipur, Kolkata, West Bengal. on third February 2013. Ms Rujira Naroola has talked about Shri Gursharan Singh Ahuja, R/o of Rajouri Backyard, New Delhi, as her father on this certificates of marriage,” the discover added.

“Whereas, the Central Govt has been additional knowledgeable that on 14.11.2009, Ms Rujira Naroola utilized for PAN Card by submitting Kind 49A with out intimating her actual standing as a Thal nationwide holding OCI Card and mentioning Shri Gursharan Singh Ahuja as her father. She was really required to fill Kind 49AA to get a PAN by declaring herself as a foreigner holding an OCI card. On the premise of data given in her utility Kind 49A, she has obtained the PAN Card bearing No. ********** underneath the identify Ms Rujira Naroola within the capability of an Indian citizen,” it additional stated.

Rujira married Abhishek on February 24, 2012, months after Mamata took over as chief minister. Abhishek, 33, is the son of Mamata’s elder brother Amit and very near the Trinamool supremo. His mom Lata is virtually the CM’s shadow and largely seen at her residence.

After finishing his larger secondary, Abhishek went to Delhi to review enterprise administration at IIPM. He used to remain at Mamata’s house close to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. His native guardian was Ratan Mukherjee, Mamata’s man Friday within the Capital.

Rujira and Abhishek have been classmates at IIPM, and it was solely a matter of time earlier than love blossomed. An educational tour to Switzerland within the first 12 months made them even nearer. Rujira, a Sikh, lived at Rajouri Backyard. Her father Gursharan had a cellphone store at Ghaffar Market, which was fairly widespread.

Gursharan and his brother are very shut to one another and are married to 2 sisters. Later, they shifted to Bangkok and began working in actual property. Sources within the household stated they’d a reference to Bangkok earlier in addition to Rujira was born there and he or she got here to Delhi solely later. The BJP has repeatedly raised allegations over her citizenship.

Rujira has a sister, Menaka Gambhir, who lives in her personal house in an upscale locality close to Ruby Hospital in South Kolkata. Menaka too has been summoned by the CBI within the coal smuggling case.

The Trinamool has determined to go on the offensive. Calling it a BJP ploy to place them on the again foot forward of the high-voltage elections in Bengal, Abhishek has stated he received’t be cowed down by the BJP’s “stress techniques”. Even Mamata, whereas addressing a gathering in Kolkata on February 21, stated her social gathering won’t be intimidated by jail. Her utterances got here simply hours after the CBI notices to Rujira and Menaka within the coal smuggling case.

Rujira and Abhishek have been married in a gala ceremony in Delhi. Although Mamata couldn’t be on the wedding ceremony because of prior commitments, a number of high Trinamool leaders attended the operate. Rujira’s mother and father even bought an house in Rashbehari Avenue so they might go to their daughter typically. Abhishek has additionally visited Bangkok together with his household. The couple has a daughter named Azania and a son named Aayansh.

(The writer is a senior journalist based mostly out of Kolkata)

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