The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has apparently found out that Trinamul Congress leader Anubrata Mondal, who was arrested in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling case, had won lotteries on at least three occasions in the past, besides the first prize of Rs one crore that he had bagged in January.
“We have found at least three occasions when huge quantities of money were deposited in his (Mondal’s) bank accounts as lottery prizes,” said a source connected with the probe.
Multiple sources in the CBI said they had detected links to suggest that lottery awards amounting to Rs 51 lakh had been transferred in two phases — Rs 25 lakh and Rs 26 lakh later — from Mondal’s bank account to his daughter Sukanya’s sometime in 2019.
A few months after these back-to-back transfers, a sum of Rs 10 lakh as a lottery award was transferred to the account of Mondal.
The frequent winning of the lotteries drew the sleuths’ attention.
The CBI has been scanning the bank accounts of the Birbhum district president of Trinamul and his daughter Sukanya to unearth mysterious financial transactions.
“We are trying to find out whether it was sheer coincidence that four awards from lotteries were credited to his account and that of his daughter in a span of little over three years,” said a senior official, suggesting that Mondal might have paid the prize money to the original winners and got the tickets from them to convert his allegedly ill-gotten wealth into legitimate incomes.
Regarding Mondal’s Rs one crore lottery prize, the CBI officials said they were yet to confirm either from the wholesaler or the retailer that they had sold the particular ticket to Mondal.
On Friday, CBI officers had questioned Shiekh Ainul of a lottery agency based in Bolpur to ascertain whether he had sold the particular ticket that fetched the prize. Based on Ainul’s statements, the officers followed it up by questioning a lottery ticket seller of a village, some 15km away from Bolpur, to ascertain whether Mondal had purchased the ticket from him.
The seller reportedly told the CBI that he didn’t recall selling any lottery ticket to Mondal even though the lottery company’s website mentioned the Trinamul leader’s name as the winner of the first prize.