CBI arrests TMC's Anubrata Mondal in cattle smuggling case

TMC leader Anubrata Mondal. Photo: ANI

Bolpur (WB): Senior Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal was Thursday arrested by the CBI from his residence here in connection with a cattle smuggling case, after twice skipping his scheduled appearance before the central probe agency in three days, an official said.

The CBI served a notice to Mondal under Section 41 of CrPC before arresting him for allegedly not cooperating in its probe into the scam, he said.

Earlier in the day, a CBI team comprising at least eight officers along with personnel of central forces reached the Birbhum district president's residence around 10 am, and conducted a search operation, as part of the investigation.

Mondal was grilled in a room on the second floor of his residence for almost an hour, the official said.

"We have arrested him for non-cooperation in the investigation into the cattle smuggling case. We have found Mr Mondal's direct involvement in the scam. We will question him today and take necessary action as per law," he told PTI.

Mondal had skipped his scheduled appearance on Monday and Wednesday, citing ill-health.

The official said the CBI would also question the doctor of a Bolpur hospital who had prescribed Mondal bed rest for 14 days.

Sleuths of the probe agency are conducting raids at residences of several close associates of the TMC leader as well, the official added.

Mondal's arrest comes close on the heels of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) apprehending now-suspended TMC leader and former Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee in a school jobs scam.

Meanwhile, the ruling TMC said the party was keeping a close watch on the situation.

"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," MP Santanu Sen said.

Sen added that the party has "zero tolerance" on corruption and wrongdoings.

The top TMC leadership will likely meet in the evening to take a call on the issue.

Opposition BJP alleged that Mondal's arrest proves the ruling party was neck-deep in corruption, and demanded a statement from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

"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," BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said.

"The arrest of Chatterjee and now Mondal is an example of the much-hyped Bengal development model,” BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty claimed that Mondal considered himself above the law in Birbhum district and the TMC leadership “turned a blind eye to his misdeeds.” PTI

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