[Cattle Smuggling Case] "No Merit": Delhi Court dismisses TMC Leader Anubrata Mondal’s default bail plea

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Anubrata Mondal, leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), filed an application seeking default statutory bail in the case registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with cattle smuggling in West Bengal.

A Delhi Court on Tuesday dismissed the default bail plea filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) Leader Anubrata Mondal in the case registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) related to cattle smuggling in West Bengal.

The court was hearing an application filed by Anubrata Mondal under Section 167(2) of the CrPC, wherein he sought statutory bail in a case registered under Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

The plea stated that Mondal was arrested by ED on November 17, 2022, and had been in detention since then despite the lapse of the 60 days since the filling of the present plea, no prosecution complaint had been filed till date.

On finding "no merits" in the case, Special Judge Raghubir Singh of the Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi dismissed the TMC leader’s bail plea.

Referring to an Apex Court’s judgment in CBI v. Anupam J. Kulkarni wherein, it was observed that a period of 90 days or 60 days has to be computed from the date of detention as per the orders of the Magistrate, the court held that it is not to be computed "from the date of arrest (formal arrest in the present context) by the police”.

The court held that in the present case merely by a formal arrest, the accused cannot be construed as having come into the physical custody of the ED in order to pursue and conclude the investigation within the stipulated period of 60 days reckoned from the date of formal arrest. The court added that the ED made the formal arrest on November 17, 2022, and immediately filed an application seeking production warrants for the accused.

Furthermore, the court noted that the entire delay, if any had been caused by the accused himself, as he is the one who challenged the production warrant orders issued by the court, which is pending before the Delhi High Court "he (Anubrata Mondal) cannot be allowed to take benefit of his own (mis)deeds”.

It is to be noted, that the TMC leader had approached the Delhi High Court in December challenging the production warrant issued by Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi in the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) case, in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling case in West Bengal.

On December 19, last year Special Judge Raghubir Singh issued a production warrant for the TMC Leader and ordered, "The Jail Superintendent Asansol Correctional Home, Asansol, Pashmimi Bardhman, West Bengal is hereby directed to produce this accused namely Anubrata Mondal before the Court of undersigned”.


Notably, on August 11, 2022, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Anubrata Mondal, a close aide to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in connection with the cattle smuggling case. On August 5, the CBI served a summons on Mondal for questioning in connection with the cattle smuggling case. On August 8, Mondal was summoned to the CBI office at Nizam's Palace in Kolkata.

In April, the trial court had taken cognizance of a chargesheet filed by the ED against other accused namely former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Vinay Mishra, his brother Vikas Mishra and Md. Enamul Haque, the alleged kingpin of cattle smuggling ruckus across the India-Bangladesh border.

Special Judge CBI Sanjay Garg, while taking cognizance had noted that ED had filed chargesheet under Sections 44 and 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 for the offences under Sections 3 and 70 of PMLA, punishable under Section 4 of PMLA.

Case Title: ED v. Mohd. Enamul Haque & Ors.