WB Polls: NIA Arrests TMC’s Chhatradhar Mahato in 12-Year-Old Case
Mahato was arrested in the wee hours of Sunday from his home in Jhargram and produced before a court in Kolkata.
A day after the first phase of voting was held in the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal, TMC leader Chhatradhar Mahato was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a 12-year-old case.
Mahato, who had assumed a prominent role for TMC in its fight against the BJP in the Jangal Mahal which went to polls on 27 March, was arrested from his home in Jhargram, in the wee hours of Sunday morning and produced in Kolkata's Bankshall court. He has been sent to two-days NIA custody.
The NIA is investigating multiple cases against Mahato, including the murder of CPM leader Prabir Mahato in 2009, during the Maoist uprising in Lalgarh area.
Chhatradhar Mahato had played a crucial role in the Lalgarh Movement and several other cases including the landmine blast assassination attack on the then West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in 2008. CPI (Maoist) had taken responsibility of the explosion triggered in protest against the setting up of a steel plant on tribal land.
He also convened the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PSBJC), a frontal organisation of the Maoists that instigated a tribal uprising against State in the jangalmahal area from 2008-2009.
Mamata Banerjee, who was in the opposition then, had lent her support to Mahato in his movement against the ruling Left government in the state.
After Mahato was arrested in 2009 and charged under UAPA, PSBJC members had stopped a New Delhi-bound Bhubaneshwar-Rajdhani Express at Jhargram demanding Mahato's release.
In July 2020, the MHA asked the NIA to investigate the 12-year-old case. After 11 years, when Mahato was released from prison in February 2021, he became an office-bearer of the TMC.
The Calcutta High Court, on Thursday, had directed Mahato to appear before the NIA thrice a week but the latter had failed to do so.
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