WB police move against Anubrata buys him time in ED case, but for how long?
Just as ED sleuths were gearing up to take Trinamool leader Anubrata Mondal to Delhi for questioning, their plans received a jolt.
Just as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths were gearing up to take Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal to Delhi for questioning at the central agencys headquarter there in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal, their plans received a jolt.
A fresh attempt to murder case against Mondal surfaced at Dubrajpur Police Station in Birbhum district just hours after the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on December 19 approved the production warrant allowing the ED to take him to Delhi. The very next day a lower court in Birbhum district remanded Mondal to seven days in judicial custody, derailing the ED plan to take him to Delhi.
Opposition parties BJP, CPI(M) and Congress have described this development as a conspiracy hatched jointly by the ruling Trinamool Congress and the state police, considering that the fresh case was made on the basis of a complaint by a former ruling party panchayat member who has accused Mondal of making an attempt to choke him before the assembly elections last year. Trinamool Congress leaders have so far avoided reacting, saying that this was a legal process which will take its own course.
Legal brains and former cops following the development feel that although the new development has stymied the central agency for the time being but in the long run Mondal will not be able to avoid being taken to Delhi.
Retired additional director general of West Bengal police, Nazrul Islam feels that there is a possibility that this development which has brought temporary relief to the Trinamool Congress will in the long term prove to be more harmful for him. "The influential theory that the central agencies like ED and CBI had been trying to establish against Mondal since the beginning will get more meat during the subsequent hearings in the matter and once the judges get convinced about this influential theory, it will be easier for the counsels of the central agencies to establish that continuing the probe in the cattle smuggling scam will not be a smooth process by allowing Mondal to stay in this state," Islam said.
Calcutta High Court counsel Jyoti Prakash Khan agreed with Islam. "Already it is evident that a section of the judiciary has started getting convinced about this influential theory against Anubrata Mondal. During a hearing on Mondal's bail application before a bench of the Calcutta High Court, Justice Joymalya Bagchi referred to this influential issue twice within the court in the immediate past week. Justice Bagchi, though in a lighter mood, also commented that the fact that both central and state agencies are keeping a watch on Mondal proves how important he is. So, I totally agree that while the surfacing of the new attempt to murder case has brought temporary relief to Mondal from going to the national capital, it has become the foundation stone for making his journey even more difficult in the coming days," Khan said.
Another Calcutta High Court lawyer Kaushik Gupta also feels that this development might "postpone" Mondal's Delhi trip but he will not be able to "avoid" it altogether. "The current seven-day police custody of Mondal in the fresh attempt to murder case might be extended for another seven days. But after that he will have to be sent to judicial custody and as soon as it happens ED will approach the court for the renewal of the production warrant," he said.
He added that there is a possibility that after the police custody in this attempt to murder case ends, there might be another case registered in some other police station for which the state will seek further police custody. "But how long will this trend of opening up old cases continue? So, in my opinion now the ED should keep a close watch on the developments and continue taking legal steps as the situation evolves," Gupta said.