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Mamata aide's arrest exposes a murky cattle scam in Bengal

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The CBI said that the cattle were smuggled from India to Bangladesh after paying illegal gratification to BSF personnel manning the international border.

New Delhi, Aug 11: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's close aide Anubrata Mondal in connection with a 2020 cattle smuggling case. Mondal is the TMC's Birbhum district president.

Mondal had earlier been questioned by the CBI twice as part of its investigation into the cattle smuggling case.

Anubrata Mondal

The cattle smuggling scam is a huge one. It is alleged that the cattle shown as seized at the Indo-Bangladesh border were undervalued and auctioned with the help of some Customs officers so that cow traders could buy them back at a very low cost. Following this they would legally sell it again to their counterparts in Bangladesh.

CBI asks TMC leader Anubrata Mondal to appear in connection with cattle smuggling caseCBI asks TMC leader Anubrata Mondal to appear in connection with cattle smuggling case

The prime suspects in the scam are three cow traders from Bengal, Muhammad Enamul Haque, Anarul Sheikh and Muhammad Gulam Mustafa. Haque was arrested by the CBI in November 2020. He was released on bail 13 months after he was arrested in Delhi. He was later on arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as well.

On August 8 the CBI filed its third chargesheet in the cattle smuggling case at a court in Asansol against Vikash Mishra, Abdul Latif and Sehgal Hossain. Latif is missing currently. Hossain was a police constable with the Bengal police who was deployed by the government as a bodyguard for Mondal. He has been accused of accepting money from several people on Mondal's behalf.

In its 41-page supplementary chargesheet, the CBI says that as many as 59 properties and businesses including stone crushing units, brick kilns, four apartments and petrol bunks are registered in the names of Sehgal's family.

Last week the CBI raided 13 different locations in Kolkata and Birbhum in connection with the same case.

The CBI teams carried out searches at the premises of local TMC leaders, including Md Nazzibuddin alias Tulu Mondal, Abdul Karim Khan, and Jiyaula Haque Sekh alias Mukto, in Illambazar and Nanoor area, they said. Mondal is considered an aide of TMC's Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal, they said.

TMC Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal to be under strict EC surveillance from 5 pm till Fri 7 am: OfficialTMC Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal to be under strict EC surveillance from 5 pm till Fri 7 am: Official

The CBI said that the cattle were smuggled from India to Bangladesh after paying illegal gratification to BSF personnel manning the international border.

The smugglers named in the case paid money to accused officials. Customs officials also used to take a bribe of 10 per cent of the auction price from successful bidders named in the case. Bhuvan Bhaskar, son of the BSF officer, was employed in Haque Industries Pvt Ltd, a company promoted by Haque.

Bhuvan was paid Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 as salary per month between May 2017 and December 2017, which reflects his links with the cattle smuggling racket, the FIR filed by the CBI said.

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