Addressing a party workers meeting of Trinamool Congress at Durgapur yesterday (15 February), Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee threw her weight behind Birbhum Trinamool president Anubrata Mondal, a day after Calcutta High Court formed a special investigation team to probe a murder case in which Anubrata is an accused. Mamata’s public backing of Mondal is seen as an attempt to energize the party organization in the run up to Lok Sabha election.
Mamata’s words came as a boost to murder accused Trinamool leader Mondal, who sat smiling on the dais along with Minister Chandranath Mukherjee and Trinamool MP Satabdi Roy. The Opposition, cutting across party line slammed Mamata’s praise for Mondal.
Calling him by his nickname ‘Keshto’, Mamata Banerjee during the workers meet at Durgapur’s Rajiv Gandhi Mela Ground praised Anubrata as a “fabulous and capable organiser” who was being “unnecessarily targeted”.
“Keshto khub bhalo chhele. Chomotkar kaaj korey, darun shongothok. O oshustho. Apnara onekei janen na. O ke oxygen cylinder niye ghurte hoy. Or mathay jotheshto oxygen jaay na (Keshto is a very good boy. He is an excellent worker, a fabulous organiser. Many of you don’t know he is unwell. He has to travel with an oxygen cylinder. Not enough oxygen goes to his head),” she said. Sources said Mondal had asthma and always carried an inhaler.
To watch the video of what Mamata Banerjee said about the murder accused Trinamool leader Anubrata Mondal, click the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q81YHeFbgVQ
“Shobai or pechhoney legechhe aajkal. Ohetuk oke lokhyo kora hochchhey. Kintu ami chirokal or pashey darabo (everyone is after him these days. He is being unnecessarily targeted. But I will always stand by him,)” Mamata added.
Kesto (Anubrta Mondal) has been in a long list of controversies ever since Trinamool came to power in Bengal. In the run-up to the panchayat polls in July 2103, he publicly incited Trinamool supporters to burn down the houses of independent candidates and bomb police if they dared interfere. Mamata defended him in assembly. Then, in November 2013, Mondal threatened to chop off the hands of Congress supporters. Just three days later, Mamata showed her support by sharing the dais with him at a rally. A few days ago, Mondal made a veiled threat against a journalist in front of a dozen video cameras. It is because of him that the state police drew flak from Calcutta high court and Supreme Court, but he continues to enjoy the support of the party leadership.
Significantly, the controversial statement of Bengal CM came a day after HC formed a five-member team led by Director General of Police G N P Reddy to investigate into the murder case of Sagar Ghosh of Parui in Birbhum, in which Mr Mondal is one of the accused. While ordering the SIT, justice Dipankar Dutta said in order to ensure a proper investigation the team, led by the DGP, should report only to the court. What’s more, the HC bluntly told the state government to stay out.
Sagar Ghosh, father of Hridoy Ghosh, a Trinamool Congress leader who fought the panchayat elections as an Independent candidate defying Mondal’s diktat, was murdered in Parui on the eve of Panchayat elections, five days after Mondal’s provocative speech. The Ghosh family accused Mondal of the murder and went to court when police allegedly didn’t heed their complaint.
Ironically, while committing her support to the murder accused leader Mondal at the Trinamool workers meet in Durgapur, the chief minister told the party workers, “We are not here to act like ruffians; we are here to control ruffians.”
The new Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said Mamata’s comment was in effect an insult to the judiciary. “Mamata Banerjee is not the judge. She is an administrator. She can’t jump to conclusions when the matter is under probe. Her statement goes against the oath she took as minister, it goes against the Constitution. This is unbecoming of a chief minister,” said Adhir.
CPM state secretariat member Shyamal Chakrabarty was sarcastic: “What the CM has said is right. I have no doubt that Anubrata is an efficient marauder. Mamata Banerjee, by her own admission, has revealed that she moves around with such efficient goons.”
Former CPM MP Mohammad Selim said, “The election is here and her (Mamata) party needs leaders like him. She does not care about courts.”
BJP state president Rahul Sinha said: “Nothing has happened in the stat in the past three years. Therefore, she is depending on goondas now. Her comment is a fit case for contempt of court. With her popularity on the downslide, she is now depending on musclemen, just like CPM did.”
Meanwhile, the five-member SIT reached Birbhum on Saturday where it was handed over case diaries and other documents by the CID. The SIT on the day also interrogated five persons who have been arrested in connection with the murder case.