Assembly Election 2021 Live News: Chhatradhar Mahato, an influential tribal leader and active worker in the ruling West Bengal Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Jangalmahal, was arrested on Sunday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a case linked to the hijacking of the Bhubaneshwar-Delhi Rajdhani Express in October 2009, an agency official told News18. Mahato, a former leader of Naxal, “was arrested around 4 am from his residence in Amliya at Lalgarh police station,” the official said. The case concerns 500 alleged Maoist cadres besieging the premium train on October 27, 2009, near Banstala station in Jhargram, demanding the release of Mahato, then behind bars. The train remained under their control for about five hours, before Central Reserve Police (CRPF) personnel and state police commandos reached the scene and forced the hijackers to beat. retired.
The TMC has raised questions about the timing of Mahato’s arrest, which took place a day after the first phase of the West Bengal elections. While several seats in the Jangalmahal area went to the polls on Saturday, some have yet to vote. Observers believe that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee roped both Mahato, who actively campaigned for the TMC in Jangalmahal, and his wife Niyati to strengthen the party in tribal-dominated areas, where the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) gained a foothold in Lok Sabha’s 2019 Elections.
Mahato is also under the scanner for the murder of an Indian Communist Party (Marxist), CPI (M), leader in the Lalgarh region on June 14, 2009. At the time, he was the organizer of the Popular Committee against the Police atrocities (PCAPA), considered a frontal organization of the CPI (Maoist) banned.