Calcutta High Court Allows CBI, ED to Arrest TMC Strongman Sheikh Shahjahan

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read
ED officials were attacked by a nearly 1,000-member strong mob at Sandeshkhali.

The Calcutta High Court declared on Wednesday that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have the authority to arrest Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman Sheikh Shahjahan, who has been evading arrest since January 5. Shahjahan, a zilla parishad leader of the ruling TMC, is a key accused in the case related to the attack on ED officials during a raid on January 5, linked to an alleged ration scam.

A division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya stated, “The person couldn’t be apprehended for a substantial period of time. The court has only stayed the constitution of a special investigation team. Therefore, it will be well open to the CBI or the ED also to arrest the absconding accused.”

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Shahjahan is accused not only in the attack on ED officials but also in the Sandeshkhali unrest. The recent Sandeshkhali unrest erupted on February 7 when village women protested, demanding the arrest of Shahjahan and his associates over allegations of land grabbing and sexual assault.

On Monday, the Calcutta High Court cleared the way for Shahjahan’s arrest by the state police, refuting the state government’s claims of a stay on apprehending him. The court asserted that there was no record of any stay on Shahjahan’s arrest in cases related to incidents at Sandeshkhali.

Advocate general Kishore Datta informed the court that 43 FIRs have been registered involving Shahjahan in the last four years, with charge sheets filed in all cases except one. The court will later examine whether the investigations were correctly conducted. The bench emphasized that the state police cannot evade responsibility for not apprehending the absconding person.

The CBI and ED counsels expressed reservations against the state police, alleging collusion with the absconding accused. Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari has accused Shahjahan of being in the safe custody of the state police.

TMC MP Santanu Sen stated that Shahjahan would be arrested soon, asserting that the state administration is working unbiasedly.

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