CBI Returns Empty Hands, W. Bengal CID Didn’t Hand over Shahjahan Sheikh

Shahjahan Sheikh, CBI, W Bengal CID

Despite the order of the High Court, the West Bengal Police did not hand over the main accused Shahjahan Sheikh of Sandeshkhali to the CBI. Apart from the attack on the ED team, Shahjahan Shaikh is accused of rape, harassment of women and illegal occupation of lands in Sandeshkhali. ED has said that it will approach the court again on Wednesday. Meanwhile P. CID of Bengal has said that since the state government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, it is not handing over Shahjahan Sheikh to CBI. Fifth note of musical scale. There was a lot of scuffle between the officers of Bengal CID and CBI till late evening on Tuesday but the CBI team had to return empty handed.

Earlier, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday issued a direction, ordering the transfer of the case related to the attack on ED officials in Sandeshkhali to the CBI. Strongly criticizing the biased behavior of West Bengal Police, it also ordered handing over the custody of suspended TMC leader Shajahan Shaikh to CBI. The court highlighted that an attempt was being made to prolong the investigation to protect the accused persons.

In response to the state CID’s failure to comply with the court order, the ED informed Chief Justice TS Sivaganam, who advised the agency to file an application the next day. Meanwhile, senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi, representing the West Bengal government in the Supreme Court, presented the case before Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta. However, the bench refused to give priority to the petition against the high court order and directed Singhvi to approach the Registrar General of the Supreme Court.

In fact, the incident involved an attack by a mob of about 1,000 persons targeting a team of ED officers who raided the residence of Shahjahan Sheikh on January 5. Shaikh, who was suspected to have links with former state minister Jyoti Priya Mallick and was implicated in a massive ration distribution scam, was at the center of the controversy.

The ED and the West Bengal government had separately opposed the single bench’s decision to set up a joint SIT of the CBI and the state police to investigate the attack. While the ED fully advocated CBI involvement, the state preferred the state police to lead the investigation.

Shaikh, also accused in the case of sexual harassment and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali, was arrested by the state police on February 29 in connection with the attack on ED officials. The ED alleged that Shaikh’s arrest by the state police was a deliberate move to prevent the CBI from taking him into custody if the case was transferred to the central agency.

The high court had earlier suspended the formation of the SIT and restrained the West Bengal Police from pursuing its investigation in the attack cases. Despite this, the state CID continued its investigation, drawing criticism from the court for biased conduct and delaying tactics to protect influential accused.

The court noted Sheikh’s significant political connections within the ruling party and his ability to influence the investigation, indicating a clear conflict of interest. Additionally, it highlighted the political sensitivity of the case, which involved powerful individuals in the ration distribution scam.

The BJP welcomed the High Court’s decision, saying it vindicated Trinamool Congress’s claims of protecting Sheikh. He insisted on the court’s rebuke of the conduct of the state police, alleging collusion with the ruling party.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women, after investigating reports of violence and intimidation against women in Sandeshkhali, recommended imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal due to alleged atrocities and government inaction. The recommendation echoed a similar call by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, citing patterns of violence and negligence by the state administration.

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About the Author: Ashish Sinha

-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008