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Mondal Vs Partha In Bengal: TMC Backs One, Deserts Other

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By: Joymala Bagchi | KOLKATA
Updated: August 20, 2022 20:38
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Tainted Trinamool Congress (TMC) Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, arrested by the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) for an alleged “direct link” in the cattle smuggling scam, was on Saturday sent to CBI custody for four more days.

Special CBI court in Asansol rejected the bail plea of Mondal on the ground of the leader’s ill health. The CBI argued that being a “powerful man”, Mondal’s bail would affect the investigation.

However, despite being tainted, the TMC makes no bones about favouring Mondal, a “show of solidarity” that was completely missing during now-sacked TMC minister Partha Chatterjee’s case. Partha was suspended from all internal party posts and ministry on the seventh day into the investigation.

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In July, Partha and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee, an actor and model, were arrested in a school service recruitment scam after huge liquid money of close to Rs 50 crore was recovered from her residences by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Although both the tainted leaders of TMC are under the scanner, the party has treated the two leaders in a biased manner: Mondal has got the party’s backing, while Partha has almost been disowned.

West Bengal’s ruling party has distanced itself from Partha’s case, but it has till now not parted ways with Mondal.

In her speech at a pre-Independence Day function, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directly hinted at being supportive of Mondal, questioning the very basis of his arrest. “What was his fault? The Central Government is always against Mondal and he has been kept under house arrest in every election. This arrest of him will give rise to thousands of Mondals.”

Reacting strongly to the CM’s speech, West Bengal BJP co-in-charge Amit Malviya said, “Investigating agencies have so far unearthed unaccounted FDs worth Rs 17 crore and Calcutta High Court has asked Mondal’s daughter, who got a teacher’s job without even taking the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), to appear before it. By defending him publicly after his arrest, Mamata Banerjee has owned up to his crimes.”

Other than the CM, TMC leaders, on several occasions, have directly backed Mondal in line with the party’s stance.

Speaking to The New Indian, senior Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya said, “It is really surprising, because Partha was a minister and general secretary of the West Bengal unit of the party. Despite that, the party decided not to recognise him after the probe. On the contrary, a district president of the party is much more important to TMC and he is getting all sorts of help and backing.”

“The party feels that Anubrata (Mondal) is much more useful to them than Partha (Chatterjee),” Bhattacharya added.

“Anubrata (Mondal) is Trinamool and Trinamool is Anubrata,” underlined West Bengal BJP’s spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya while speaking to The New Indian.

He further elaborated, “Anubrata and TMC are synonyms. Anubrata has been arrested but Anubratas are everywhere, from the sea to the mountains. This state is functioning with lots of such Anubratas. He sweet-coated his threats too and the TMC seconded him.”

“During Partha’s case, liquid cash was visible which had its own effect but Mondal’s situation is completely different. He is the supply line. If this supply chain breaks, Trinamool’s empire will collapse hence, support for Anubrata comes naturally,” added Bhattacharya.

Mondal’s case has several twists and turns. It allegedly involves his daughter, family members, and close aides. It was revealed that Mondal had amassed phenomenal properties. Fixed deposits worth Rs 16.97 crore in the State Bank of India, Axis Bank, and Bank of India that belonged to Mondal, his family, and aides were seized by the CBI.

The probe also raises hackles on his daughter Sukanya Mondal and five others of his family, who are accused of not clearing the TET and getting jobs as school teachers. Moreover, it has also been alleged that Sukanya never taught in the school but received salary.

The CBI also questioned two doctors of Bolpur sub-divisional hospital on Saturday. Dr Chandranath Adhikari, who examined Mondal, said he was forced to recommend “bed rest” in the prescription after he visited Mondals at their residence in Bolpur. The agency has got crucial documents that establish Mondal’s direct connection with Border Security Force (BSF) commandant Satish Kumar.

The cattle smuggling scam came into the limelight through a CBI investigation in the India-Bangladesh border area that stretches through 2,216 km.

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