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Chatradhar Mahato skips court hearing again as NIA considers more serious steps

Citing health concern, the former Maoists-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) member Chatradhar Mahato avoided the hearing again.

SNS | Kolkata |

Former Maoist and current Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Chatradhar Mahato has skipped another hearing at the Bankshall Court in Kolkata regarding the 2009 Rajdhani Express blocking and locopilot kidnapping case.

Citing health concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Maoists-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) member avoided the court hearing again, reported Zee 24 Ghanta.

Meanwhile, the NIA, which reopened the cases after a special court in Kolkata accepted their appeal for a fresh investigation, is considering a more serious approach from now onwards to get Mahato under their grabs.

In his defence, the 56-year-old, who was recently included in TMC’s election committee and was also made a state secretary in the party, has gone to the Kolkata High Court, asking for the need to reopen the cases.

In 2009, the PCAPA members had blocked the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express in Banstala in West Bengal’s Jhargram district to demand for Mahato’s release after he was arrested and booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) the same year.

Mahato has already been interrogated by the NIA officials twice on August 25 and 26. Apart from the Rajdhani Express case, the central agency is also questioning him in the 2009 murder case of CPIM leader Prabir Mahato.

The leader from Lalgarh was arrested in 2009 in a covert operation by the West Bengal police. He went on to spend 11 behind the bars before he was released in February earlier this year.

Soon after he was out of the prison, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee officially inducted the once-face of Maoist movement in Bengal.

Even though most of the serious cases against Mahato were closed after he came out of the jail, many in TMC camp believe that the ongoing NIA action against him is a ploy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The West Bengal’s governning party believes that due to the popularity of Mahato among the people of Jongolmohol region, the BJP is trying to keep him under check.

In the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the saffron party had comprehensively overpowered TMC.