Former TMC strongman Arabul Islam arrested

April 27, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 07:26 am IST - KOLKATA:

On a day when the State was coping with the aftermath of the earthquake in north Bengal, an erstwhile Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman and former MLA Arabul Islam was quietly taken into custody.

Mr Islam was arrested from Rajarhat in the south-eastern fringe of Kolkata by Biddhanagar city police while he was “taking a stroll” near a park.

Mr. Islam is not a run-of-the mill strongman. He reportedly dictates – even after being expelled from the TMC – land purchase and related transactions in parts of two prosperous districts, North and South 24 Paraganasa, adjacent to Kolkata.

He allegedly finances and fixes multi-crore land deals between big investors and real estate promoters, reaping a fortune for himself and his party.

The TMC indulged him as he had successfully countered the CPI-M in the area and established the party in the blocks of south Bengal. Even during the last Lok Sabha elections, he allegedly triggered ‘low-intensity violence’ to ensure the victory of Sugata Bose, the Harvard historian and Netaji family scion.

But then Mr. Islam was perhaps ‘growing’ at a rate faster than the party. He is reported to have encouraged factional feuds to control other groups and sub-groups of the TMC in Bhangar and the TMC chief was cautioned by many, including party colleagues and local administration, about the damage he may do to the party. So, six months after the Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Islam was expelled in October last and on Sunday, while Mamata Banerjee kept the administration in north Bengal busy, her police took Mr. Islam in “safe custody”.

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