Kolkata, Mar 21 (IANS): With the Rouse Avenue Courts in the national capital on Tuesday sending Trinamool Congress strongman Anubrata Mondal, the prime accused in the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal, to judicial custody till April 3, the once 'Tiger of Birbhum' seems to have become a 'petty matter' for his own party.
Speaking to mediapersons on the latest development, West Bengal minister Sashi Panja clearly said that the issue involving a district president of Trinamool is a "petty matter".
Mondal is Trinamool's Birbhum district president.
Panja also referred to how the party had stripped former Education Minister Partha Chatetrjee of all his ministerial and party posts within a week after his arrest by the ED in connection with the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam.
"Trinamool Congress had promptly taken acation against a very important member of the state Cabinet after he was arrested. In comparison to that, a district president is a petty matter. The party leadership never asked anyone to indulge in corrupt practices. Even after that if charges of corruption are levelled against any person, he will have to take the responsibility for that. The party will not take the responsibility of corrupt practices," Panja said.
However, she did not specify whether, like Chatetrjee, Mondal will also be removed from the chair of district president and be suspended.
Her statements came as a study in contrast to the earlier developments where unlike Chatterjee, Mondal received the full backing of his party, including from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, since his arrest in August last year.
At a public meeting then, Banerjee had said that it is the responsibility of the party to ensure that Mondal is brought out from behind the bars with a hero's reputation.
State minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim had described Mondal as the 'Tiger of Birbhum' and said that "once the tiger is out of the prison, all the jackals will hide".
BJP's national vice-president and Lok Sabha member Dilip Ghosh said that it is the tradition of Trinamool to distance itself from anyone after utilising him.
"Let this be an eye-opener for Mondal, who should reveal all the secrets to the central agency," Ghosh said.