Maneka Gambhir’s Bangkok visit remains uncertain as Calcutta HC refuses plea

Kolkata: Maneka Gambhir’s trip to Bangkok to visit her mother there has remained uncertain as a vacation bench of the Calcutta High Court refused to hear her plea on this ground on Thursday.

Instead, the Calcutta High Court’s vacation bench of Justice Lapita Bandopadhyay has referred the matter to the regular bench of the court, which means that the matter will be heard only after the full operations of the court resume at the end of the ongoing festive season in the state.

Maneka Gambhir is the sister-in-law of Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary and party MP, Abhishek Banerjee. While rejecting her plea, Justice Bandopadhyay observed on Thursday that since Gambhir has already made a similar plea at a regular bench of the Calcutta High Court earlier, there is no justification of hearing in the matter by a vacation bench.

On October 17, she made an application at a vacation bench for the permission to go to Bangkok to visit her ailing mother there. However, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has opposed the request on grounds that another single judge bench of the court had already refused to entertain a similar plea.

On the night of September 10, the immigration department at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata did not allow Gambhir to board a flight to the Thai capital due to the look out notice issued against her by the ED.

In response, she filed a contempt of court petition against the probe agency ED at the single judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya.

Her contention was that when there was a prior court order barring the central agency from adopting any cohesive action against her, such a refusal amounted to contempt of court.

However on September 30, Justice Bhattacharya’s bench dismissed the contempt of court petition and observed that neither the ED nor the immigration department had resorted to any sort of contempt of court by denying her the permission to board the flight.

Gambhir was questioned by the ED on September 12 in connection with the central agency’s ongoing probe on the coal smuggling scam in West Bengal.

The ED sleuths have also questioned Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee on this count.


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