A Central Bureau of Investigation court in West Bengal on Wednesday remanded Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal in judicial custody for 14 days, PTI reported. The court also allowed the investigative agency to question Mondal in judicial custody.

The CBI has accused Mondal, the president of the Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district unit, of being involved in the smuggling of cattle through the India-Bangladesh border. The Trinamool Congress leader was arrested on August 11.

Mondal’s lawyer on Wednesday sought bail for his client, claiming that there was no link between him and the alleged smuggling of cattle through Birbhum district. The lawyer also argued that the Trinamool Congress leader is 65 years old and suffers from several ailments.

The CBI’s counsel sought judicial custody for Mondal, contending that he was an influential person who could influence witnesses.

Meanwhile, CBI judge Rajesh Chakraborty, who is hearing the case against Mondal, has alleged that he received a threat letter warning that his family members would be implicated in a drug-related case if he did not grant bail to Mondal, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

The case

On September 21, 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a first information report. It later filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case naming Saigal Hossain, a bodyguard of Mondal, Vikash Mishra, the brother of Vinay Kumar Mishra of the Trinamool Youth Congress and a man named Abdul Latif.

Hossain, who was arrested in June, played a key role by collecting money that was part of the proceeds of crime in the name of Mondal, the Central Bureau of Investigation alleged.

On August 14, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee criticised Mondal’s arrest, saying she would “start a movement” against alleged excesses of the central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

“How many people will be arrested?” she asked. “I will hold a Jail Bharo movement with everyone. Come down to the streets.”