Cattle Smuggling Case: CBI judge stops video proceeding, calls for Anubrata Mondal’s physical presence

TMC strongman, lawyers reach judge’s residence for a midnight hearing

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By: Joymala Bagchi | NEW DELHI
Updated: 08 March, 2023 2:57 am IST
Anubrata Mondal was brought to New Delhi from West Bengal on Tuesday (File Photo)

In an interesting twist to the tale, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials rushed Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman Anubrata Mondal to the residence of Special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) judge Rakesh Kumar in connection to the cattle smuggling case.

Mondal, who was brought to New Delhi by the central agency on Tuesday, March 7, was rushed to the residence of CBI judge Kumar at around 12.30 am.

The move followed after CBI judge Kumar halted the proceedings of the hearing through a video conferencing at the Rouse Avenue Court. CBI judge Kumar demanded Mondal’s physical presence at his residence, where the proceedings resumed.

Mondal’s counsel along with ED counsel and the officials reached the judge’s residence where the proceedings resumed at the time of filing the report.

ED officials are seeking a 14-day remand for Mondal while his counsel is opposing the move citing health grounds.

Mondal was flown to Delhi under ED custody on Tuesday after receiving a long-awaited nod from Calcutta high court. Mondal was brought from the Asansol jail to Kolkata. He was handed over to the central financial probe agency after a three-hour-long check-up by doctors of the ESI hospital.

Although the doctors at Joka ESI hospital, who examined Mondal, declared the TMC leader fit, Mondal complained of chest pain in both Kolkata and Delhi airports.

“A Medical Officer shall accompany the petitioner to Delhi and he will be examined medically by the doctors immediately after his arrival in Delhi. All such medical papers shall be produced before the Trial Court in Delhi at the time of the production of the petitioner before the said Court,” Calcutta HC order read.

“When the petitioner failed to obtain any relief in Delhi High Court, he chose to move the instant application today and submitted on merit. Successive applications filed by the petitioner in different Courts for obtaining favourable orders are undoubtedly a clear instance of ‘Forum Shopping’. This practice can never be encouraged, and to quote the Apex Court, unless this practice was nipped in the bud, it would encourage unscrupulous litigants and encourage them to entertain the idea that they can indulge in forum shopping, which has no sanction in law and certainly no sanctity’,” the court paper accessed by The New Indian reads.

As per the order by Calcutta high court, a medical officer accompanied Mandal to Delhi and soon after arrival Mondal was rushed to Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital.

Cattle smuggling came into the limelight through a CBI investigation in the West Bengal border area. During its investigation, the CBI found many documents that establish Mondal’s direct link with the sensational case on Bengal’s Indo-Bangladesh border.

It also learnt that Mondal’s daughter had amassed assets such as houses, lands and multiple bank accounts. The Bureau also found multiple joint accounts of Mondal and his daughter along with joint properties. The agency suspects that Mondal’s daughter’s bank accounts were used for financial transactions.

On August 11, Mondal was dramatically detained by the CBI from his residence for questioning in the cattle smuggling case. Later, he was arrested by the central probe agency.

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