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Anubrata Mondal's Arrest Strike 2 for TMC After Partha Chatterjee. Team Mamata Plans 2-Pronged Defence

By: Kamalika Sengupta

News18.com

Last Updated: August 11, 2022, 17:56 IST

Kolkata [Calcutta], India

Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal being welcomed by supporters on his arrival in Birbhum on May 20, 2022. (PTI)

Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal being welcomed by supporters on his arrival in Birbhum on May 20, 2022. (PTI)

On Anubrata Mondal’s arrest, TMC leaders say the law will take its own course. But the party also plans to question the BSF’s “failure” to check cross-border cattle smuggling and central agencies’ “disinterest” in cash seizure from Congress’s Jharkhand MLAs

It’s Strike 2 for the Trinamool Congress with the arrest of Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal in the cattle smuggling case. Strike 1 came on July 22 with the arrest of then minister Partha Chatterjee in the teachers’ recruitment scam case. While Chatterjee had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate along with aide Arpita Mukherjee, Mondal has been arrested by the CBI after two no-shows for questioning in three days.

Chatterjee’s arrest and the seizure of around Rs 50 crore cash, gold and property documents from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee had already pushed the TMC onto the back-foot which removed the minister from all government and party posts. With another high-profile arrest at a time when Mamata Banerjee has been keen to carve out Opposition leadership space for herself, the TMC is playing a cautious game of wait-and-watch.

“The law will take its own course. The TMC will not allow any corruption if proved, whoever he may be,” TMC MP Biswajit Deb told News18.

Echoing Deb, party MP Santanu Sen said: “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.” Sen added that the party has “zero tolerance” on corruption and wrongdoings.

Party MP Mala Saha, meanwhile, expressed concerns over central agencies like the CBI and ED “going after” leaders from Bengal.

Sources within the TMC told News18 that at a press conference scheduled to be held on Thursday evening, the party will spell out its position that the law will take its own course on the issue. Sources said it will also question the Union Home Ministry on the BSF’s “failure” to check cross-border cattle smuggling and will question why central agencies were “not interested” in the cash seizure from Congress’s Jharkhand MLAs in Howrah district.

Opposition BJP, meanwhile, has 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.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikary said: “The CBI has done the right thing. He (Mondal) was a small person. How did he get Rs 1,000 crore property? He is the creation of Mamata Banerjee.”

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first published:August 11, 2022, 17:25 IST
last updated:August 11, 2022, 17:56 IST