Cattle smuggling case: CBI arrests top TMC leader Anubrata Mondal after skipping multiple summons
Doctors at the state-run medical facility had advised Anubrata Mondal to come back after two months stating that he was only having a few chronic diseases. He has been questioned twice thus far by the central agency, which in the recent past also conducted raids at various locations in the district in connection with the case.
Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a cattle smuggling case after failing to appear for questioning twice in three days. With this arrest, federal authorities have now detained two well-known TMC leaders in West Bengal. Partha Chatterjee, a minister for Bengal, has already been detained by the ED in connection with a multi-million dollar teacher recruitment programme fraud.
According to a senior officer, Mondal wrote to the CBI on Wednesday to explain why he couldn't appear before their investigators in connection with a livestock smuggling case, citing "sickness."
The 60-year-old TMC Birbhum district president requested two weeks from the investigators in order to meet before them at the agency's city headquarters. He also sent copies of two prescriptions in his letter. On Wednesday morning, Mondal's attorney left the letter to the municipal office of the central agency. The doctors from the city's SSKM Hospital and Bolpur Hospital wrote the prescriptions that Mondal filed.
A day after the TMC leader failed to show up for an appointment with CBI agents, the agency on Tuesday issued a summons for Mondal to appear at its city office for interrogation in relation to their inquiry. Mondal paid a visit to the city on Monday, but he went to the SSKM Hospital for a checkup rather than the CBI headquarters.
Recently, the central agency searched the homes of two people who were allegedly close friends of Mondal at 13 different sites, including Kolkata and the Birbhum area. During searches, it was discovered that there was Rs 17 lakh in cash, 10 mobile phones, pen drives, hard drives, locker keys, and several incriminating papers.
Mondal, who has been a member of the TMC since the party's founding in 1998, is thought to be friendly with Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal and leader of the organisation. He reportedly has more influence in the state than several ministries or even MLAs.
The CBI filed a case in September 2020 against Satish Kumar, the commander of the Border Security Force, and numerous others in connection with the suspected collusion of state employees in the illicit cattle traffic that was occurring in West Bengal along the India-Bangladesh border.
Throughout the inquiry, Mondal's name had come up, and the CBI had already questioned him. In the FIR, the CBI said that Satish Kumar served as the 36 Battalion Commandant for the BSF in the Malda area from December 2015 to April 2017. Over 20,000 cows are said to have been detained by the BSF at this time before being brought across the border.