Anubrata Mondal, who is in his 60s, is the district president of Birbhum for the Trinamool. He is popular by the name ‘Kesto Da’ and is considered a close aide of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Trinamool Congress strongman Anubrata Mondal from his residence in Bolpur, West Bengal, on Thursday. Mondal has skipped summons by the investigating agency in the cattle smuggling case citing health issues. Of the 10 summons issued by the CBI, Mondal appeared on only two occasions.
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This is the second big arrest by the CBI in Bengal after Partha Chatterjee, who is being held for his alleged role in the teacher recruitment scam.
Who is Anubrata Mondal?
Anubrata Mondal, who is in his 60s, is the district president of Birbhum for the Trinamool Congress. He is popular by the name ‘Kesto Da’ and is considered a close aide of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Mondal also holds the distinction of being the only district president to be inducted into the Trinamool’s national working committee.
In 2014, Anubrata Mandal was accused of inciting supporters to attack Independent candidates ahead of the panchayat polls. His provocative speech allegedly resulted in the murder of Trinamool rebel Sagar Ghosh, whose son Hriday was an independent candidate who won the election.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had then put her weight behind the all-powerful Birbhum Trinamool president, saying “Kesto is an efficient organiser, and our party recognises good and efficient organisers.” Sympathising with him, Banerjee had said Mondal suffers from a medical condition called hypoxia for which he has to carry oxygen with him.
Cattle smuggling case
The illegal cattle smuggling case was first unearthed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In September 2020, the CBI filed a case against BSF commandant Satish Kumar and several others for their alleged involvement in the illegal cattle trade along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
Kumar and another accused Enamul Haque were arrested. Later, the CBI filed a charge sheet in the cattle smuggling case, naming 11 people, including Saigal Hossain who was Mondal’s bodyguard. According to the charge sheet, Hossain, a policeman deputed to guard Mondal, was instrumental in moving money from cattle smugglers to the Trinamool leader. The CBI also questioned Mondal in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling racket.