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Friday, December 8, 2023

Cattle smuggling case: TMC strongman Anubrata Mandal ducks CBI summons again, tenth refusal so far

Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mandal on Wednesday once again skipped CBI summons in connection with cattle smuggling case in West Bengal.

This is the tenth time that Mandal has evaded the probe agency’s call on health grounds.

Mandal, the party’s Birbhum district president, was supposed to be present at the CBI’s Nizam Palace office in central Kolkata on Wednesday at 11 a.m. However, at around 10 a.m., two counsels of Mandal arrived at Nizam Palace and handed over a communique on his inability to appear on medical grounds. As a supporting document, they handed over medical advice from Bolpur Sub-Divisional Hospital prescribing bed-rest for him.

He had appeared at the CBI office for interrogation just once in May this year and since then he had been avoiding the consecutive central agency summons. All eyes are now on what would be CBI’s next action on this count and senior officials of the agency under the leadership of the agency’s additional director Ajay Bhatnagar, who is currently in Kolkata, are currently discussing the next course of action.

According to senior counsel of the Calcutta High Court Kaushik Gupta, the CBI currently has three options. “The first is to move the court and get an order for Mandal’s arrest, the second is to question him at Bolpur residence and the third and final option is issuing a fresh summons with a fresh date.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties have again started raising the question on why the CBI is giving a long rope to Mandal. “Now it is clear that the Mandal has just used medical prescriptions, first from SSKM and then from Bolpur Sub-Divisional Hospital, as shields against facing CBI interrogation. I do not understand what the CBI is waiting for. It should act tough now and drag Mandal to its office,” said CPI(M) central committee member and the former leader of Left Parties in West Bengal Assembly, Sujan Chakraborty.

BJP’s state president in West Bengal and party MP, Sukanta Majumdar said that if Mandal thinks that he will be able to avoid the central agency questioning for an indefinite period by using medical prescriptions, he is mistaken. “He should rather hurry up. Patha Chatterjee is waiting for him at the Presidency Central Correctional Home,” ridiculed Majumdar.

Trinamool Congress’s state vice president Jaiprakash Majumdar gave an extremely cautious statement on the matter. “Now it is the matter between CBI and Mandal and the party has nothing to do in this connection,” he said.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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