West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday gave a clear hint of going soft on Trinamool Congress' Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, who is under CBI custody for his alleged involvement in the cattle smuggling case.
"Why have they arrested Mondal? What has he done? I have no objections to central agencies probing genuine cases. The Union government has always been against Mondal. In every election, he is kept under house arrest. His arrest will give birth to thousands of Mondals," the Chief Minister said at a pre-Independence Day function on Sunday afternoon.
This is the first time that Banerjee spoke about Mondal after the latter was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 11.
Banerjee statement was quite contrary to her tough stand on Partha Chatterjee, who is presently under judicial custody as the prime accused in the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam.
She also did not utter a single word about Chatterjee's arrest on Sunday. Incidentally, the venue of the programme was under the Behala (West) constituency, which is represented in the Assembly by Chatterjee.
Speaking on the occasion, Banerjee also flayed the Central agencies for allegedly leaking portions of the probe findings to a section of the media, which, she said, are highlighting those to project the arrested persons as villains even before proven guilty.
The Chief Minister recalled how Mondal was satisfied with the organisational post of the party's Birbhum district president instead of eyeing legislative, parliamentary or ministerial posts.
"I had even offered him a berth in the Rajya Sabha a number of times, but he refused. He had dedicated himself for the party organisation even when his wife was on death bed in the hospital suffering from cancer," Banerjee said.
Political observers feel that the Chief Minister;s remarks are clear indication that while Chatterjee's political career with Trinamool is a closed chapter for the time being, all is not over for Mondal yet.
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