Kolkata: The CBI Thursday carried out raids on the properties of Trinamool Congress youth leader, Vinay Mishra, for his alleged involvement in connection with a three-month-old cattle smuggling case.
Mishra, known to be a close aide of Trinamool Youth Wing president and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, has allegedly received a few crores of rupees from the prime accused in the case, Enamul Haque.
CBI officers said they found “incriminating documents and evidence” from Mishra’s residences in Kolkata and Hooghly.
“We have documented evidence against Vinay Mishra. He has received crores (of rupees) from Enamul Haque. We are also probing into the money trail that may lead to other influential politicians in the state,” a CBI officer told ThePrint.
The officer said Mishra is now absconding and a look-out notice has been issued against him.
“Mishra, who is now absconding, escaped to Dubai for sometime in 2019. Similarly, Haque also fled to Bangladesh and returned sometime back,” he added.
Haque, a resident of Murshidabad, was arrested in November. During the course of its investigation, the CBI found his links with the Trinamool leader, said a second officer in the agency.
Mishra was appointed as the secretary of Trinamool Youth Congress in November 2018. He held the position of Trinamool Yuva vice-president in 2014-15. Abhishek Banerjee was then the president of Trinamool Yuva, an outfit floated for the youth leaders of the party.
The TMC, however, called the raids “political vendetta”, adding that law will take its course if the CBI could prove the allegations against Mishra.
On 21 September this year, the CBI registered a case in connection with cattle smuggling in Bengal. It arrested BSF commandant Satish Kumar on 18 November for his alleged role in smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh through Murshidabad-Malda borders.
He was booked along with three cattle traders, including Haque, who was arrested on 6 November.
The first CBI officer quoted above said Haque is the kingpin of cattle smuggling in Bengal.
He was earlier arrested in March 2018 from Kolkata by a CBI team from Kerala in connection with a case registered in Cochin in January that year.
The agency also arrested a BSF commandant, Jibu D. Mathew, from Cochin for allegedly taking bribes from Haque, said the CBI officer, adding that Mathew was paid around Rs 45.3 lakh by Haque.
During the course of the investigation, more details emerged and at least two dozen BSF officers posted along the Indo-Bangladesh border came under the CBI scanner, the official told ThePrint.
‘Vinay Mishra not much known in TMC’
The TMC, meanwhile, called the raids a “political vendetta”.
“The CBI didn’t complete the Saradha chit fund investigation, and are now opening other avenues to satisfy BJP’s vested interest. The cattle smuggling case is one of them. This is nothing but political vendetta,” said TMC MP Sougata Roy.
Commenting on Mishra’s alleged involvement in the case, Roy said, “Vinay Mishra is not a senior leader. He is not much known in the party. If the CBI can prove the allegations and charges, the law will take its course. We have nothing much to say about it.”