Cattle smuggling scam: Trinamool starts distancing itself from Anubrata Mondal

Following his arrest by the CBI in connection with the cattle smuggling case in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress leadership has started distancing itself from the party’s strongman and Birbhum district head Anubrata Mondal.

A similar approach was taken by the Trinamool leadership after former state minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his alleged involvement in the teacher recruitment scam.

The first to open his mouth with regard to Mondal’s arrest was veteran Trinamool leader and state minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who said: “If anyone commits a crime, he or she will have to face the consequences. Again, if he (Mondal) claims innocence, the onus is on him to prove that.”

Chattopadhyay’s views were echoed by state Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, who said that the party’s stand is clear on such issues and that zero tolerance is shown against anyone found involved in immoral activities.

“We will follow the same policy in this case as well. At the same time, I want to ask as to whether central agencies like the ED and CBI are maintaining an unbiased approach since they are silent and inactive about erring BJP leaders, be it in West Bengal or elsewhere in the country,” Bhattacharya said.

When asked specifically if the party will adopt the same strategy it had adopted in the case of Partha Chatterjee by stripping the latter of all party portfolios and suspending him for an indefinite period, Bhattacharya said the decision on this count will be taken by the highest leadership in due course.

Trinamool legislator Madan Mitra, meanwhile, ridiculed Mondal for ducking successive CBI summons.

“The party never asked him to avoid CBI summons. He did that out of his own wish. Previously, I had been summoned several times by the central agencies in connection with the Saradha chit fund probe. I always cooperated with the agencies,” Mitra said.

Taking a jibe at the Trinamool for its distancing approach, CPI(M) politburo member Md Salim said, “When Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal acted as the principal fund arrangers, they were assets for the party. Now how can the party deny having ties with them after their arrest?”

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