Police get hold of Anubrata before ED
Police on Tuesday secured the custody of Birbhum district Trinamul Congress president Anubrata Mondal in an attempt to murder case, a day after a Delhi court had allowed the Enforcement Directorate to question him in the national capital in connection with alleged cattle smuggling.
“Anubrata Mondal was produced in the Dubrajpur court in an attempt to murder case.... The police appealed for 14 days of custody, but the court granted only seven days of remand,” an advocate told The Telegraph.
Mondal had been arrested by the CBI on August 11 in the cattle smuggling case and after spending 14 days in the custody of the agency, he had been lodged in Asansol jail till Tuesday morning.
Police sources said on Tuesday that Mondal would spend the next seven days in a room at Dubrajpur police station in Birbhum district. A source, who was present in the courtroom, said Mondal’s lawyers didn’t seek his bail during the 35-minute hearing.
Soon after the Delhi court’s verdict on Monday, a Trinamul leader filed an attempt to murder case against Mondal.
The turn of events that played out in less than 24 hours prompted Opposition parties to accuse the state administration of scripting a drama to prevent the ED from taking Mondal to Delhi.
Now that the police have tagged the Birbhum Trinamul chief in an attempt to murder case in the state, there are questions on whether the ED can take him to the national capital for interrogation.
Sources said a team of around 50 policemen visited the prison in the early hours of Tuesday and brought Mondal to Dubrajpur.
The attempt to murder case was filed by Shibthakur Mondal, a former chief of Birbhum’s Balijuri gram panchayat, with Dubrajpur police on Monday. He accused Mondal of trying to strangulate him inside a Trinamul office before the Assembly polls last year to prevent him from switching to another party.
“The appeal for police remand was made around 2.30pm, the order was passed around 4pm and Modal had been taken out of Asansol Jail by 9am today.... The criminal justice system in Bengal had never seen such a level of prompt action before. There is little doubt that everything was scripted,” said a police officer not connected with the case.
Shibthakur, however, said he had been waiting for the right time to take legal recourse against Mondal.
“He had tried to throttle me to death inside the party office in Bolpur before the Assembly elections as I was planning to shift to the BJP.... I could not lodge a complaint till Anubrata was arrested (by the CBI).... I had been planning to lodge the complaint for the past two months and finally mustered the courage to lodge it yesterday (Monday),” he told reporters.
The Trinamul leadership didn’t waste time in suspending Shbithakur from the party, which gave an impression that it wasn’t happy with his action.
“These are all part of a drama. Trinamul does not want Anubrata to go to Delhi as he would spill the names of other leaders involved in all corrupt activities in the state that the ED and the CBI are probing.... But their effort to keep him in Bengal will not be successful,” said BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharyya.
BJP sources said leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Tuesday, briefed him on the sudden development.
State CPM secretary Md. Salim echoed Bhattacharyya and recalled chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s earlier comment that Mondal would be given a hero’s welcome on his return from jail. Salim was referring to the heavy presence of Trinamul leaders and supporters, who had gathered with flowers and garlands, outside the Dubrajpur court on Tuesday.
“Police did not take any step against Anubrata when he did so many crimes, including directing people to hurl bombs at the cops. The incident proves the desperation of Trinamul to save Mondal. Mamata Banerjee, who is also the home minister, has to come clean on what happened,” Salim told reporters in Calcutta.
Trinamul was, however, firmly behind Mondal.
“I don’t know anything about the opinion of Opposition leaders. He (Mondal) has been sent to police custody according to the court’s order and we have full respect for the judiciary. He is still a hero to us. Does a royal Bengal tiger turn into a deer if he is caged?” asked state urban development minister Firhad Hakim.