Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district president and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s close aide Anubrata Mondal has written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking time till May 21 to appear before the federal agency in connection with cases of cattle smuggling and post-poll violence in West Bengal.
This is the first time that the 61-year-old TMC strongman has agreed to face the agency sleuths who were informed through an email, it is learnt. Mondal’s lawyer, who visited his client at his residence on Monday, said his health has deteriorated. “If they (agency) wish, they can record his statement at his residence,” the lawyer said.
Mondal’s repeated evasion of the CBI summons has raised a debate in political circles of West Bengal. On Monday, BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh said that Mondal will be “safe in jail”. He said, “The moment the CBI summons him, he runs to hospital. His name is involved in a lot of cases. Either he will have to live in hospital or in jail. But he will be safer in jail as he might get killed outside as he knows who all in the TMC benefited from the scams.”
Taking a strong exception to Ghosh’s statement, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that his party (BJP) should rather concentrate on their internal issues. TMC leader Joy Prakash Majumdar said, “The CBI should call Dilip Ghosh and interrogate him instead. It seems he knows a lot of things.” The CBI had summoned Mondal soon after the Calcutta High Court upheld a single-judge bench order in the first week of this month. The court refused to grant him protection from arrest in the cattle smuggling case.
On April 6, Mondal got admitted to the state-run SSKM Medical College and Hospital.
Soon after he was discharged from the hospital on April 22, the CBI sent him two summons — one in connection with the cattle smuggling case and another with post-poll violence probe.