In a big development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested the TMC president of Birbhum district Anubrata Mondal in connection with the cattle smuggling case. According to the sources, Mondal has refused to sign the arrest memo. Meanwhile, the ED will also move to the Delhi High Court in order to issue the production warrant.
The development came after the ED interrogated the TMC leader earlier in the day inside Asansol jail. After questioning the TMC leader, the ED took him into its custody.
Notably, Mondal was earlier picked up by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 12 from his Bolpur home after the probe agency said it had found the TMC leader’s direct involvement in the cattle smuggling scam.
Earlier in October, the ED summoned the daughter of arrested Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal in the cattle smuggling case to appear before it in New Delhi. The ED interrogated her regarding the properties she and her father owned. Notably, Sukanya Mondal is a primary school teacher in the Birbhum district.
The central agency has claimed that several illegal properties of Mandal were registered in the name of Sukanya Mondal. The CBI, which is also probing the case, had earlier sent a notice for questioning officials of a firm in which Sukanya is one of the two directors.
After TMC leader Anubrata Mondal was arrested by the CBI in August, the investigation agency was trying to trace the trail of money involved in the cattle smuggling case. Following the investigation, CBI claimed that a huge amount of money was being collected from cattle traders in the name of "protection money" and then this money was being diverted to some of the confidants of Anuradha Mondal.
The role of Mondal's chartered accountant also came under the scanner for involvement in the diversion of money. The agency has also been probing the role of Mondal’s daughter in the cattle smuggling case.
Notably, Anubrata Mondal's name came under the scanner of the CBI after the investigation agency registered an FIR in 2020. According to the CBI, between 2015 and 2017, thousands of cattle heads had been seized by the security personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) as they were being smuggled across the border.