Cattle smuggling case: CBI detains TMC leader Anubrata Mondal for questioning

Updated on Aug 11, 2022 04:02 PM IST

A large contingent of central force personnel was deployed to cordon off his house and all the roads leading to his house in Bolpur, even as villagers started gathering in dozens

Mondol had earlier skipped summons from the agency at least 10 times citing health conditions. (File image)
Mondol had earlier skipped summons from the agency at least 10 times citing health conditions. (File image)

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Anubrata Mondol was on Thursday detained by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Thursday morning to question him in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam. He was picked by CBI from his Birbhum house this morning.

“CBI has still not arrested Mondol, that’s what we have been informed by the agency. He has been served a notice under section 41 of the CrPC and is being taken to Asansol for questioning. To arrest a person there is a procedure like preparing arrest memo, informing a close relative of that person and to inform a lawyer of his choice. Officially he has not been shown arrested by the agency till around 11:30 am,” said Anirban Guhathakurata, Mondol’s lawyer.

Mondal was taken to an Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) guest house at Kulti near Asansol town in West Burdwan district on Thursday afternoon for questioning.

Before being picked up from his home at Bolpur in Birbhum district, Mondal was served a notice under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) showing him as a suspect in the cattle smuggling case, officials said.

He was earlier summoned 10 times but as a witness in the case. Those notices were served under Section 60 of the CrPC.

Till 3pm, CBI officials remained tightlipped on whether Mondal would be arrested and produced in court before the end of working hours on Thursday.

The cattle smuggling case is being heard by the special CBI court at Asansol.

Since it is mandatory to have a medical checkup done on an accused before he is taken into custody, the agency would have to take Mondal to a hospital as well.

Mondal’s lawyers had told the CBI on Wednesday that he is unwell and the TMC leader ducked the tenth summon notice.

If Mondal is not arrested before the end of court hours, he might be questioned overnight and produced before a judge on Friday.

A large contingent of central force personnel was deployed to cordon off his house and all the roads leading to his house in Bolpur, even as villagers started gathering in dozens.

Earlier on Monday, the agency had summoned Mondol for questioning but he went to the state-run SSKM hospital for a health examination.

The hospital authorities, however, didn’t admit him citing his ailments were chronic in nature. Mondol returned to Birbhum the same day.

Also Read: Cattle smuggling scam: TMC leader skips CBI summons for 10th time

On Tuesday, the federal agency sent a letter to Mondol again asking him to appear in its Kolkata office for questioning at 11am on Wednesday. Mondol, however, skipped it.

Senior CBI officials told HT on Wednesday that the federal agency was weighing options on the future course of action as Mondol, the ruling party’s district head of Birbhum, had asked for two-week time to appear before the agency to face the questions.

While Mondol was at his residence in Birbhum on Wednesday, around 160km north of Kolkata, his counsels reached the CBI’s office in the city saying that the TMC leader was unwell and had been advised to take a rest.

“The CBI may again send him a notice, may go to his residence and question him or may even take him into custody,” Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, a high court advocate, had said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, shortly after he was summoned by CBI to appear on Wednesday, four doctors from a government-run hospital at Bolpur in Birbhum were sent to his home to examine him.

One of them, Dr Chandranath Adhikary alleged before a TV channel that Mondol was not ill to the extent that he can’t face the CBI, triggering a controversy.

The case for which the leader has to be questioned pertains to cattle seizure by the Border Security Force (BSF) between 2015 and 2017.

According to CBI’s FIR, cattle seized by the BSF were reportedly undervalued and auctioned with the help of some customs officers so that traders could buy these at low prices and legally sell them again in Bangladesh.

Part of the sale proceeds allegedly went to some TMC leaders and government officers. The agency has already arrested Sehgal Hossain, body guard of Anubrata Mondol.

Earlier, the alleged kingpin of the racket, Mohammad Enamul Haque was arrested in November 2020.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2022
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