Seemingly buoyed by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s on Saturday throwing her weight behind the Birbhum strongman, Anubrata Mandol, now in CBI custody after being arrested by the central agency for his involvement in the cross-border cattle smuggling scam, has become non-cooperative, according to CBI sources.
Mr Mondal remains tightlipped on most of the questions put to him during his question and has been dodging others, the sources said.
This has made it further complicated for the agency sleuths, who had already included Mr Mondal’s name in the supplementary chargesheet already filed, along with that his body guard Saigal Hossein, who is now behind bars in connection with the cattle case and alleged smuggling mastermind Enamul Haq.
Agency sources said that the party chief’s apparent of vote of confidence at him by denouncing the CBI’s move of arresting him during a speech on Saturday in Behala, had been a shot in the arm of the Birbhum strongman, who was not only skirting all the key answers on crucial questions but steadfastly denying his alleged complicity in the cattle smuggling case.
Mr Mondal has allegedly been refusing to be drawn into any admission of any ties with his now-arrested bodyguard Saigal Hossein in relation to the cross-border smuggling. He had reportedly told the sleuths that he had nothing to do with Hossein’s alleged amassing of property and utilisation of the proceeds of crime from the smuggling of cattle from the booming bovine market at Illambazar, Birbhum, in which he was being pegged by the agency as one of the big beneficiaries.
Even as CBI officers fret over Mr Mondal’s stonewalling, they are working overtime to fasten charges on him of of his direct complicity in the cattle smuggling. The CBI has already mentioned Mr Mondal’s name in the supplementary charge sheet based on the interrogation of Hossein and Haq.
In the chargesheet that CBI filed, it is mentioned that the Hossein, who would allegedly act as a facilitator to give safe passage to the smugglers also used to act as a go-between Haq and Mr Mondal, and would collect protection money in the name of the Birbhum district president from Enamul Haq.
This had also helped in multiplying his assets between years 2015-22. The central agency had also got crucial leads in alleged swelling of assets of Mr Mondol’s daughter.
Besides swaths of land, farmhouse allegedly on a 50 bigha piece of land, warehouses, rice mills and two companies, ANM Agrochem Foods and Neer Developer Pvt Ltd, allegedly in the name of Mr Mondal and other assets in his daughter’s name came to the notice of the agency. A source claimed that the agency is now gearing up to quiz Mandol’s daughter Sukanya in a day or two.