The CBI has announced a reward of ₹ 1 lakh for anyone giving actionable information leading to arrest of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s alleged confidant Vinay Mishra, who is wanted in a cattle smuggling case, officials said Wednesday.
The central agency had issued a similar reward against Mishra in a case of coal pilferage from the mines of Eastern Coalfields Ltd in West Bengal’s Asansol a few months ago, they said.
The CBI had also moved Interpol seeking a Red Notice against Mishra and attempts are going on to bring him back from the island country of Vanuatu in the Pacific ocean where he had reportedly taken citizenship in 2020, the officials said.
The CBI had named Mishra as co-accused in its supplementary chargesheet filed last year in the cattle smuggling case.
Mishra is believed to be close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee, the officials said.
The central agency has alleged that Mishra acted as a middleman link to collect illegal gratification on behalf of public servants and used to give patronage and protection to the smugglers using his connections in lieu of money routed through non-existent shell companies.
In its charge sheet filed before a special CBI court in Asansol, the agency had already shown Mishra as absconding.
The CBI has also charge sheeted the then BSF Commandant Satish Kumar and six others for their alleged involvement in a cattle smuggling racket operating on the India-Bangladesh border.
Besides Mishra and Kumar, the agency charge sheeted mastermind Enamul Haque, Anarul Seikh, Golam Mustafa Taniya Sanyal, Badal Krishna Sanyal and Rashida Bibi for allegedly being part of criminal conspiracy to smuggle cattle across to Bangladesh, the officials said.
In its charge sheet before the Special Court, Asansol, the CBI has alleged that Haque was the organizer of this illegal trade and was assisted by two other accused in connivance with Kumar who was deployed at Murshidabad and Malda.
"Evidence has been found during investigation regarding the alleged illegal cross-border selling of cattle, the related movement, delivery and use of ill-gotten money," CBI spokesperson R C Joshi had said.
He said it is also alleged that three other accused assisted and showed fictitious business activities to regularize the ill-gotten money.
The CBI had taken over the case on September 21, 2020 against four accused on the allegations of illegal cross-border trade of cattle.