New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court sought the CBI's response on Monday on a bail plea moved by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Anubrata Mondal, who has been arrested in connection with a cattle-smuggling case.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and sought its reply within two weeks on the plea.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing in the court on behalf of Mondal, submitted that five chargesheets have been filed in the case and everybody is out of jail except the TMC leader.

"I have spent 14 months in jail. The main kingpin was also granted bail by a bench headed by the chief justice," Rohatgi said.

The Calcutta High Court rejected Mondal's bail plea in January.

Mondal had prayed for bail, submitting that he was in custody for more than 145 days.

Holding that further investigation into the alleged amassing of illegal wealth by Mondal was continuing, the high court had said releasing him on bail at this stage would adversely affect the morale and confidence of the witnesses and seriously impact the collection of evidence.

Denying bail to Mondal, a division bench of the high court presided over by Justice Joymalya Bagchi had observed that he continued to hold a powerful political post and had an overwhelming influence not only in the society but also on the state administration.

Opposing Mondal's bail plea, it was alleged by the CBI that as a powerful political personality, the TMC leader had illegally aided and abetted cattle smuggler Enamul Haque and used his influence to ensure a smooth passage of cattle through Birbhum and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal to reach the international border in lieu of wrongful gains.

Representing Mondal, senior counsel Kapil Sibal had submitted that the main accused, Enamul Haque, and co-accused Satish Kumar, a senior Border Security Force (BSF) officer at the time of his arrest, were out on bail.

The CBI had claimed that Mondal was the main facilitator for a smooth transportation of cattle through Birbhum district to Bangladesh.

Mondal's counsel had stated that no such evidence was found.

Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.

Ayodhya (UP) (PTI): Chairman of Ram Temple Construction Committee Nripendra Mishra said on Monday that the first floor of the Ram temple at Ayodhya will be completed by July this year, and expressed the hope that the construction of the temple will be completed by December.

He said marble from Rajasthan will be used in making the 'Ram Darbar' and the seven temples. Four sculptors have been shortlisted for this work, he added.

Speaking to reporters in Ayodhya, Mishra said, "The first floor of the temple, which is under construction, will be completed by the end of July. After July, the construction of the second floor will only remain. So, we are hopeful that by December, the construction of the temple will be complete," Mishra said.

On the recent controversy in a section of the media about 'teeka' not being applied on the foreheads of the devotees visiting the Ram temple, Mishra said, it was not applied to the devotees who used to come earlier. They used to have a 'darshan' of the Lord and then go out.

"Teeka was applied to some special people who used to come from another 'dwar' (gate). So, it is completely misleading to say that the Lord's 'teeka' and 'charnamrit' are not being given.

"No new embargo has been put. Everybody is being given equal treatment, be it an ordinary devotee or a special (person)," Mishra said.

The idol of Ram Lalla was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on January 22, a landmark event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also gave a clarion call to go beyond the grand temple's construction to build the foundation of a "strong, capable and divine" India of the next 1,000 years.

As the inauguration of the temple marked the culmination of a decades-long campaign, mostly under the Hindutva banner, to reclaim a disputed religious site in Ayodhya, Modi said it was the advent of a new era.

Lakhs of people watched the 'pran pratishtha' (consecration) ceremony on television at their homes and in neighbourhood temples, savouring the historic moment just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and 34 years after BJP veteran L K Advani's iconic 'Mandir Wahin Banayenge ' speech during his rath yatra that shaped Ram mandir politics.

Mishra said more than 1.75 crore devotees have visited the temple from January 22 till June 23.

On average, one lakh devotees visit the temple daily. By the end of this month, we expect that 2 crore devotees would have visited the temple, he said.