After arrested Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal’s bodyguard, Sehgal Hossain, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths have secured information about another close associate of Mondal, Abdul Latif in its probe in the cattle-smuggling case.
The CBI sleuths believe that Latif, currently absconding, acted as the main commission collection agent from cattle smugglers.
CBI sources said that on the basis of preliminary investigation and interrogation of Hossain, they have got specific information on how Hossain and Latif acted as the two arms of Mondal’s empire built over this cattle smuggling.
On one hand, sources said that Latif was responsible for collection of commission on behalf of Mondal from the cattle smugglers bringing the cattle from other states in northern India to a cattle market at Illambazar close to Bolpur in Birbhum district.
Once Latif deposited the commission collected after deducting his own share, the role of Hossain started with hiss main task being to ferry shares of that illegal proceeds to the different influential people in the political and administrative set-up to ensure smooth running of the trade.
The CBI has got information about assets worth crores of rupees owned by Latif and Hossain.
However, sources said, during the interrogation process, Mondal is going to a total non-cooperation mode whenever the issue of Latif is being raised by the CBI officials. “We strongly believe that Mondal has specific information about Latif’s hideout. But he is deliberately shielding him since he is aware that once we get Latif in our custody, the trouble will be greater for Mondal,” said a CBI official.
Both Hossain and Latif have been named in the last charge sheet filed by the central agency in a special CBI court at Asansol in West Burdwan district.
In this entire smuggling chain, since Birbhum was used as the epicentre of the illegal trade, Mondal and his associates are perceived to be benefitting from two sources. The first source is in the protection money since the arrival of the cattle from the different north Indian states till their stay within the boundaries of Birbhum district.
The second source is the commission against ensuring safe passage of this smuggled cattle to the Bangladesh-bordering districts of Murshidabad and Malda.