NIA arrests Trinamool Congress leader in 2009 case, party questions timing

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on March 28 arrested Trinamool Congress leader Chhatradhar Mahato.

The arrest was in a case related to the hijacking of the Bhubaneshwar-Delhi Rajdhani Express in October 2009.

The case involves 500 suspected Maoist cadres laying siege to the premium train on October 27, 2009, near the Banstala station in Jhargram, demanding the release of Mahato, who was then behind the bars. The train was under their control for around five hours, before Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and state police commandos reached the spot and forced the hijackers to retreat.

The arrest comes hours after 30 seats in south western Bengal, where Mahato wields considerable influence, went to polls.

Local sources say that he was asleep when a 40-member team dragged him away.

According to NDTV report, the 57-year-old Mahato’s family refused to sign or accept any document served by the agency.

According to The Hindu, he is likely to be produced before a special NIA court in the city on Sunday.

Mahato who was crucial to party’s organisation in the Jangalmahal region, told pressers that NIA summons to him were “politically motivated.”

He was the convener of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA).

Earlier, the court has convicted Mahato under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) along with other three PCPA member Sukhshanti Baske, Sambhu Soren and Sagun Murmu and sentenced life imprisonment on 12 May 2015.

Soon after his release from jail earlier this year, Mahato joined the Trinamool Congress as a member of its State Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body.