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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

TMC leader Anubrata Mondal’s close aid Sehgal Hossain arrested in cow-smuggling case; daughter’s assets being investigated

There is no respite for the ruling TMC as the recent developments haven’t favored them. Assets owned by the TMC Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal have come under the scanner, and it appears that Mondal might have had accumulated assets and properties in the name of family members and employees. 

The assets owned by his daughter Sukanya Mondal are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). A scrutiny of the assets held by Sukanya Mondal revealed that she had purchased some high-value properties since 2014. As per local political analysts, these assets are far higher than her earning capacity. The central agencies, especially officials from the ED, are trying to track the money trail behind these transactions.

Both the agencies are conducting parallel probes in the cases of cattle and coal smuggling in the state. Mondal’s conversations with some present and former officials of the district police in Birbhum are also being scrutinized by the CBI sleuths. While officials based out of CBI’s Nizam Palace office in Kolkata and their counterparts in the ED are probing the TMC stalwart in the cattle and coal smuggling cases, CBI officials based out of the central government office (CGO) Complex at Salt Lake are questioning him on the post-poll violence in the state.

Highly placed CBI sources have informed that their officers had recently sought the details of income tax returns, books of accounts, assets, and properties held by Anubrata Mondal and his family members. Mondal has submitted these details through his counsel.

The books of accounts of a Non-Government Organization (NGO) based in Birbhum have also attracted the ED’s attention. Reportedly, the red beacon-fitted personal vehicle used by Mondal was registered in the name of this NGO. However, after being reprimanded by the Calcutta High Court and objections raised by the TMC high command, Mondal had to remove that red beacon. The agencies have also discovered that there are multiple petrol pumps in which Mondal is not the owner but has stakes.

The CBI had summoned the TMC leader multiple times to interrogate him in the cattle smuggling and the post-poll violence cases. Though he went to the Nizam’s Palace office once, he didn’t respond to the subsequent summons by the CBI, citing physical illness. Nevertheless, the CBI sources have stated that they are taking the required steps to get an account of Mondal’s assets.

Officials of these agencies are also investigating the asset details held by some of Mondal’s close associates, including his bodyguard and driver Sehgal Hossain. CBI has been investigating papers of various land, resorts, schools, colleges, nursing institutes, and other establishments that on papers belong to other owners but are Mondal’s as per speculations.

It is alleged that Hossain also has property in his name that belongs to Anubrata Mondal. As per sources, Hossain, whose deceased father worked as a constable, owns three palatial houses in Domkal and some in Dhulauri and Bazarpara. He reportedly purchased land worth 5 to 6 crores in the last 8 to 9 months. CBI officials wanted to investigate how a bodyguard has such wealth. They had reached his house to quiz him on this matter and asked him to escort the CBI to multiple properties that the CBI was reviewing. A vehicle belonging to Hossain’s family was also linked to an accident that took place on April 26. 

On Thursday, June 9, after exhaustive investigation and interrogation, the CB had arrested Hossain as accused in the cattle smuggling case. CBI sources claim that they have evidence that proves Sehgal Hossain was taking the money from Enamul Haque, the prime accused in the cattle smuggling case. 

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