Credit where due, no one knows better than West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress on how to game the system. Mamata will leave no stone unturned to protect her close aides and will exploit every loophole in the Indian law which was amply seen in the cases of Rajeev Kumar and Alan Bandhopadhyay. Now, former Secretary of the Trinamool Youth Congress and a close confidante of Mamata’s nephew – Abhishek Banerjee, Vinay Mishra has escaped to Vanuatu and renounced his Indian citizenship after being named as an accused in one of the largest cow smuggling cases that has been unearthed in the country.
Adding his name into the long list of fugitives who have escaped to foreign shores to escape any punitive action as mandated by the Indian law, former Trinamool Congress leader Vinay Mishra has taken the citizenship of the Republic of Vanuatu. Mishra accepted Vanuatu’s citizenship on 25 November 2020 while he renounced Indian citizenship at the Indian Consulate office, Dubai, on 19 December 2020. The Sunday Guardian reports that Mishra’s other family members, including his wife, two daughters and mother and father are now citizens of Grenada.
There is a reason why Mishra chose Vanuatu and Grenada to escape as India doesn’t have any extradition treaties and arrangements with the two countries and any effort by the Indian agencies to bring him back would prove to be a herculean task.
The Central Bureau of Investigation which is investigating the cow smuggling case has added Mishra’s name in the supplementary charge-sheet filed by the central agency. The CBI has already questioned Rujira Banerjee – the wife of TMC general secretary and Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
According to the FIR filed by the CBI, in the intervening period between December 2015 and April 2017, private individuals, including Vinay Mishra collaborated with senior BSF officials and custom officials along the India-Bangladesh border to illegally send at least 20,000 Indian cows to be sent to Bangladesh for slaughter.
The CBI alleges that out of the hefty amount that Mishra earned from the most ambitious case of cow smuggling in the history of India, a substantial part of which has been deposited with Abhishek Banerjee.
In what can be termed as an internal sabotage, just four days before the CBI registered the FIR in the cow smuggling case, Mishra left India on 16 September, 2020. In order to claim his innocence, Mishra has hired the services of Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Siddharth Luthra among others to defend himself. It is being reported that Singhvi and Luthra charge Rs 10-15 lakh per hearing.
It remains to be seen whether the CBI will be able to bring Mishra to justice or not.