NIA arrests former Maoist, TMC leader Chhatradhar Mahato

The NIA is probing Mahato’s role in the murder of CPI(M) leader Prabir Ghosh and the Rajdhani Express hijack case in 2009

Chhatradhar Mahato
Mahato was recently inducted into the TMC, to strengthen the party’s prospects in the Jangal Mahal against BJP. File Photo: Twitter

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested Trinamool Congress leader Chhatradhar Mahato from his residence in Lalgarh in Jhargram district, soon after he cast his vote.

Mahato, according to reports, was arrested for his failure to appear before the NIA – three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 11 am – as per court orders.

The NIA is probing Mahato’s role in the murder of CPI(M) leader Prabir Ghosh and the Rajdhani Express hijack case in 2009.

The arrest of Mahato, the former convenor of the Maoist-backed People Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), came on the day polling kicked off for the eight-phase West Bengal assembly elections.

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According to reports, a team of 40-45 NIA personnel whisked Mahato from his residence, hours after he exercised his franchise on Saturday.

“He was arrested in connection with the 2009 killing of CPI(M) leader Prabir Mahato. He has been booked under theUnlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. We will produce him at a city court on Sunday,” the NIA official said. A policeman was reported injured during the arrest.

The Calcutta High Court had recently directed Mahato appear before the NIA thrice a week to assist it in investigation of the case.

Mahato, who is in fifties, had earlier served 10 years in jail for his involvement in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Salboni in 2008, aimed at the convoy of the then West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

He was recently inducted into the TMC, to strengthen the party’s prospects in the Jangal Mahal against BJP.

(With inputs from agencies)

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