Kolkata: The National Investigation Agency arrested TMC leader Chhatradhar Mahato over the case of a CPI(M) leader’s killing in 2009.

The arrest happened soon after Mahato cast his vote in Lalgarh during the first phase of polls in West Bengal, a senior official informed on Sunday.

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Hours after voting, Chhatradhar Mahato was nabbed from his residence in Jhargram district by an NIA team comprising of 40-45 personnel late on Saturday.

“He was arrested in connection with the 2009 killing of CPI(M) leader Prabir Mahato. He has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. We will produce him at a city court on Sunday,” the NIA official said as quoted by PTI.

Mahato was formerly a convenor of the Maoist-backed People Against Police Atrocities (PCPA). The Calcutta High Court had recently asked Mahato to appear before the NIA thrice a week to assist the probe of the case.

The TMC leader had earlier served a 10-year jail sentence for his involvement in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Salboni in 2008. The blast was aimed at the convoy of the then West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and former Union minister Ramvilas Paswan.

Rajdhani Express Hijacking

It is alleged that in 2009, TMC leader Chhatradhar Mahato and his associates tried to hijack Rajdhani Express by firing – an attempt that went on for about 4 to 5 hours. He was arrested and was charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. In May 2015, the Medinipur district court convicted Mahato and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

After his release from prison in February 2021, he was appointed as an office-bearer of the Trinamool Congress. Currently, he is seen as the face of the tribal community within TMC.

Mahato is also a member of the core state committee of CM Mamata Banerjee and the arrest is being seen as a blow to Trinamool amid fierce election faceoff with BJP.

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