NIA arrests TMC leader Chhatradhar Mahato

Summons were issued to him earlier this month in connection with the murder of a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker Prabir Mahato in 2009.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on March 28 arrested Trinamool Congress leader and former convener of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) Chhatradhar Mahato. The arrest comes hours after 30 seats in south western Bengal, where the leader wields considerable influence, went to polls.

A team of NIA officials arrested Mr. Mahato from Jhargram in the early hours of March 28. He is likely to be produced before a special NIA court in the city on March 28. The next phase of polling in West Bengal is scheduled on April 1.

Summons were issued by the NIA to the key Trinamool Congress leader in Jangalmahal region earlier this month in connection with the murder of a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker Prabir Mahato in 2009. Mr. Mahato who played a crucial role in the Lalgarh movement was arrested in September 2009 by West Bengal police. The PCAPA had served as the frontal organisation of Communist Party of India (Maoist) and generated public support during the Lalgarh siege, when the rebels had established their hold over Lalgarh and adjoining areas.

Mr. Mahato who was slapped with charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was released from prison in February 2021 and was appointed as an office-bearer of the Trinamool Congress. He was crucial to party’s organisation in the Jangalmahal region. The arrest comes as a blow to the West Bengal’s ruling party. Earlier this week, Mr. Mahato told The Hindu that NIA summons to him were “politically motivated”.

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