Calcutta High Court Denies TMC Leader Immunity From Arrest In Cattle Smuggling Case

On Tuesday, the Calcutta high court declined to provide Anubrata Mondol, the leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), any reprieve from appearing before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the continuing cattle smuggling fraud.

The ruling of a single bench was maintained by a division bench of the Calcutta high court, with Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj declining to grant the TMC leader protection from arrest.

Mondol approached the division bench on March 21 after a single bench of justice Rajasekhar Mantha granted him any reprieve from appearing before the CBI on March 18.

At least four occasions, the TMC leader has been called by the central agency. The CBI wants to interview Mondol in the multi-billion dollar cattle smuggling scheme as a witness, not as an accused.

At least four occasions, the TMC leader has been called by the central agency. The CBI intended to examine Mondol as a witness rather than an accused in the multi-crore cattle smuggling scheme.

Mondal was called by the CBI, which has field offices in Birbhum and the neighbouring West Burdwan district, to its regional head office at Nizam Palace in south Kolkata. Mondal has been avoiding summons citing medical reasons. In light of the continuing pandemic, he requested that CBI question him at a location closer to his home.

After carefully considering the parties’ arguments, this Court finds that the petitioner has been going outside of Bolpur, and has even travelled all the way to Howrah on a few of occasions. The diseases pointed to by the Medical Board are not significant enough to necessitate the petitioner to be confined to his home or a hospital,” the single bench concluded.

On Tuesday, the division bench stated that the single bench’s order is free of any errors.

The animals seized by the Border Security Force (BSF) were devalued and auctioned with the cooperation of some customs employees, according to the CBI FIR, so that dealers could buy them at a low price and legitimately sell them in Bangladesh. Some TMC leaders and government officials are said to have received a portion of the selling money. The investigation was launched by the CBI in 2018.

Several state police personnel, as well as BSF and Customs officials, are suspects in the case, which is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. So far, two BSF officers and one state police inspector have been detained. Deepak Adhikari, a Bengali film actor and TMC Lok Sabha member, was interrogated by the CBI in Kolkata for five hours on February 15.

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