Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation last week arrested Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal in connection with the cross-border cattle smuggling case. The arrest comes after Mondal, a prominent TMC leader skipped several summons by the agency, including two in the past one week.
CBI officials along with several CRPF personnel arrived at the house of Mondal at Bolpur in Birbhum. They entered the house and picked up the TMC leader and drove off. “The said accused was consistently avoiding CBI’s summons since long and not cooperating with the CBI investigation into the case,” a press statement by the CBI said. The TMC leader was produced before a court in Asansol which remanded him to CBI custody till August 20. There were protests outside the CBI court in Asansol where supporters of BJP and Left parties were seen protesting side by side.
Mondal was asked to appear before the CBI on August 8 and 10, but the TMC leader skipped the summons. On August 8, Mondal tried to get admitted to State run SSKM hospital in Kolkata but the doctors said that he did not require hospitalisation. Of the 10 times the TMC leader was summoned in the case, he had appeared only once on May 19 this year.
Reacting to the arrest TMC leadership said that the party has zero tolerance to corruption but raised questions on the impartialilty of central investigating agencies. The arrest of Mondal comes as a major embarssament to the party and TMC leadership appears not to put their weight behind the party’s key organiser in south Bengal. The party has, however, called for protests against central agencies.
No stranger to controversy
Mondal, a prominent TMC leader and has been instrumental in establishing party’s dominance in Birbhum and adjoining districts. He has been no stranger to controversy and often accused of violence and political murders of the supporters of Opposition parties. Mondal has also grabbed headlines for his public utterances like “hurling bombs at the police” and more recemtly “Khela Hobe (Game is On)” before 2021 Assembly polls in the State.
The cattle smuggling case relates to the smuggling of cattle through the India-Bangladesh border through cattle markets in Birbhum. The CBI has lodged an FIR in the case on September 21, 2020 and filed chargesheets in the case, the last being on Monday (August 8, 2022). In the chargesheet, Mondal’s security officer Saigal Hossain has been named as accused. Hossain has been arrested in the case and remains behind bars. The other accused named in the chargesheets include a former BSF commandant Satish Kumar, businessman Emanul Haque , former Trinamool leader Binya Mishra, and Abdul Lateef, owner of a cattle haat in Birbhum.