Mamata Banerjee’s election agent named in 5 post-poll violence cases by CBI


KOLKATA: SK Supian, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader who was chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s election agent at the Nandigram assembly poll in East Midnapore district in April 2021, has been named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in five cases of post-poll violence, officials aware of the development said on Thursday.

The charges include assault, attempt to murder and, according to one first information report (FIR), attempt to rape a village woman.

After being interrogated by CBI twice in recent months, Supian was granted anticipatory bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Mamata Banerjee lost the Nandigram election to her aide-turned-adversary, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari. To continue as chief minister, she had to be get re-elected in a by-poll at her old constituency of Bhawanipore in south Kolkata. Adhikari, who won from Nandigram in 2016, was a cabinet minister till he joined the saffron in December 2020.

Supian alleged that the charges are concocted and masterminded by Adhikari.

“As vice-president of the zilla parishad, I have to move with ‘Y’ category security cover. Is it possible for me to commit such crimes? Suvendu Adhikari has made people lodge false complaints. We will fight it out in court,” Supian said on Thursday night.

During the day, the CBI sent summons to the TMC’s Birbhum district unit president Anubrata Mondal, asking him to appear on February 17 for questioning in the cattle smuggling case. He is widely known as a trusted aide of the chief minister.

Mondal, who was recently granted relief from arrest by the Calcutta high court, was not available for comment.

On Wednesday, the CBI sent summons to TMC Lok Sabha member and Bengali movie star Deepak Adhikari, who is popularly known as Dev, asking him to appear on February 15 for interrogation in the cattle smuggling case.

TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh alleged that the CBI has become proactive under instructions from top BJP leaders. He claimed the BJP is concerned about the party’s prospects in the coming elections at 112 civic bodies in Bengal. The polls will be held on February 12 and 27.

“The BJP used central agencies in the same manner before the assembly polls but could not win more than 77 of the state’s 294 seats. This attempt, too, will bear no fruit because people are with Mamata Banerjee,” said Ghosh.

On September 16 last year, Sufiyan was summoned for the first time to a central government guest house in Haldia town where a CBI team is camping. On September 3, CBI recorded the statement of the family of BJP worker Debabrata Maity at Nandigram. Maity was attacked, allegedly by TMC workers on May 3, a day after the Bengal poll results were announced. He died at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on May 13. CBI lodged a case in this connection on August 31. Supian was named as an accused by other complainants as well.

Though the CBI has questioned many TMC district leaders during the probe into post-poll violence following an order the Calcutta high court passed on August 19 last year, this is the first time a leader known to be close to the chief minister has been named in multiple criminal cases.

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