Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths probing the multi-crore cattle smuggling case in West Bengal on Wednesday confiscated bank fixed deposits worth Rs 16.97 crore in the name of Trinamool Congress strongman Anubrata Mondal and his close relatives.
"For the last few days, we had been tracking different bank accounts held by Mondal and his family members. In this process we tracked these fixed deposits worth Rs 16.97 crore, whose sources were highly fictitious. Now our questioning will start from what were the source of funds for maintaining fixed deposits of such high value. Besides Mondal, his daughter Sukanya Mondal and some of their close relatives were holders of such accounts," a CBI official said.
Majority of these fixed deposits were held at Bolpur branch of the Bank of India (BOI), which is located nearby Mondal's ancestral residence there. One fixed deposit also showed Mondal's deceased wife Chobi Mondal as the account holder.
The investigation revealed that the process of confiscation of the bank accounts started from Wednesday morning only.
Earlier, Mondal's chartered accountant, Manish Kothari and two of the BOI's Bolpur branch officers were questioned there by the CBI officials on Wednesday morning.
Later, a team of the CBI sleuths went to the bank, met the branch manager and showed the authorisation to confiscate the bank accounts.
The branch manager immediately informed the bank's regional headquarter about the developments, following which the central agency sleuths confiscated the bank accounts.
This is the first major confiscation of fixed deposits of huge amount by the CBI team. The Enforcement Directorate sleuths seized Rs 50 crore in cash from the two residences of Arpita Mukherjee, the close aide of former West Bengal Minister, Partha Chatterjee in connection with the West Bengal School Service Commission recruitment irregularities scam.
There was no official communication from the TMC leaders regarding this political development. However, the opposition party leaders have slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over this issue.
"Only on August 14, the Chief Minister defended Mondal and said that he had been falsely implicated by the CBI. Now probably she can answer where the huge sum of money came from?" said the West Bengal BJP spokesman, Samik Bhattacharya.
The CPI(M) Central Committee member, Sujan Chakraborty said that this recovery of money from the TMC leader is just the tip of the iceberg.
"As CBI will go deeper into the investigation, more such treasures will be revealed. How long will the Chief Minister be able to defend Mondal?" he asked.
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