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TMC Leader Anubrata Mondal Remanded to CBI Custody in Cattle Smuggling Case

The team of CBI and central armed personnel reached Mondal's residence at around 9.50 am on Thursday.

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Politics
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Edited By :Tejas Harad

Trinamool Congress strongman Anubrata Mondal has been remanded to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody till 20 August by a special CBI court after he was arrested on 11 August in a 2020 cattle smuggling case. He will be taken to the Kolkata CBI office at Nizam Palace.

A team of CBI officials escorted by a contingent of central armed forces personnel arrested Mondal on Thursday morning.

What Happened?

After the Trinamool Congress' Birbhum district president ignored ten consecutive summons from the CBI, the agency decided not to wait anymore. A team of CBI officials led by the agency's Superintendent (anti-corruption branch), Rajeev Mishra, along with the team of central armed forces personnel, reached Bolpur late Wednesday night.

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Around 9:50 am on Thursday, the team of CBI and central armed personnel reached Mondal's residence. The central armed forces cordoned off the entire residential building from all points. Thereafter, the CBI officials were divided into two teams. One team entered the residence from the main front gate, while the other entered through the other gate at the backside of the building.

"The decision to reach his doorsteps was taken on Wednesday evening only after we became definite how desperate Mondal is to avoid the summons for which he even got a bed-rest advice by pressurising a doctor of the Bolpur Sub-divisional Hospital," a CBI official said.

The official added, "We even talked to the doctor concerned and he also said that he was forced to give the bed-rest advice in plain paper both from his higher authorities as well as Mandal. So, before he could adopt any further method to duck interrogation, we decided to reach his house."

After entering the residence, the CBI first asked the private security personnel posted there to move out of the building and also directed the central armed forces personnel not to allow anyone to enter. The CBI officers also seized all the mobile phones from everyone present at the building while the raid was being conducted.

It is learnt that the CBI team was also carrying a court order with them that empowered them to conduct search operations at Mondal's residence.

Mondal Provided Protection to Smugglers: CBI

Later, CBI officials said that Mondal allegedly provided protection to smugglers in return for regular payments

The CBI alleged that Vikas Mishra, brother of absconding TMC leader Vinay Mishra and Mondal provided protection to associates of alleged cattle smuggler Enamul Haq, who used to buy animals at a market in Ilambazar, news agency PTI reported quoting officials.

The smugglers used to ferry animals from Ilambazar to Indo-Bangla border under the alleged protection of Mondal and Mishra from state enforcement agencies, they said. They used the services of some BSF officials, including chargesheeted Satish Kumar, to get these cattle smuggled to Bangaldesh, the officials said.

"It was also alleged that the accused persons were organising and patronising large scale cattle smuggling to a neighbouring country and collecting huge money from other persons," the CBI said in a statement.

The agency said it was revealed that the accused procured a huge number of cattle from Ilambazar 'pashuhat' and ensured safe passage for transportation of the cattle to international border.

"The CBI filed a charge sheet on 6 February 2021 against seven accused and further filed three supplementary charge sheets on 23 February 2021, 24 November 2021 and 8 August 2022 against several other accused before the competent court. Further investigation was continuing to unearth larger conspiracy," a CBI spokesperson said.

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'Keeping Close Watch,' Says TMC, BJP Alleges 'Neck-Deep Corruption'

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) said that it was keeping a close watch on the issue.

Stating that the party has "zero tolerance" over corruption and wrongdoings, MP Santanu Sen said, "The party will take an appropriate decision at the right time. But, we want to make it clear that TMC will not compromise on any instance of corruption."

Demanding a statement from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the opposition BJP alleged that Mondal's arrest proves that the ruling party was neck-deep in corruption "It is time the CM comes out with a statement on the arrest of Mondal. We all know he was close to the top TMC leadership," said BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh.

Alleging that the TMC leadership “turned a blind eye to his (Mondal's) misdeeds," CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty claimed that Mondal considered himself above the law in Birbhum district.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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