Kolkata: A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of Trinamool Congress strongman and the party’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal.
Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ajay Kumar Gupta rejected the bail plea on grounds that investigation by the central agency in the cattle smuggling case has reached a crucial stage and hence it will not be justified to grant him bail at this juncture.
The arguments in the matter were already concluded on Tuesday. However, the division bench reserved its judgement for the day and pronounced the same on Wednesday.
To recall, Mondal filed two petitions at the Calcutta High Court in relation to the cattle smuggling case. One was a bail petition and the other was the plea to quash the FIR filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the matter.
Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri had already rejected the plea related to ED’s FIR earlier and on Wednesday the division bench also rejected his bail plea.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had been opposing his bail plea on the basis of his being influential. That the division bench has accepted this influential theory to a great extent was evident from the two observations by Justice Bagchi during the course of hearing.
The first observation was related to the fresh case of attempt to murder filed against Mondal in an incident that purportedly happened a year ago. But, the FIR was filed on December 19, 2022 just a couple of hours after the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi approved the production warrant allowing the ED to take Anubrata Mondal to New Delhi for questioning at the agency’s headquarter in the national capital in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal.
Though in a lighter mode, Justice Bagchi told Mondal’s counsel Kapil Sibal that it is evident how influential Sibal’s client is that both the state and central agencies are keen about him.
Secondly, Justice Bagchi also expressed surprise over the FIR filed by state police in the mysterious death of Lalan Sheikh, the prime accused in the Bogtui carnage in March last year, at the CBI custody, where the name of CBI’s investigating officer in the cattle smuggling, who had no connection with the Bogtui probe, was named.