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Absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh of Sandeshkhali can be arrested by CBI, ED or West Bengal Police: Court

Nivedita Dash Edited By: Nivedita Dash @Nivedita0503 Kolkata Updated on: February 28, 2024 13:38 IST
TMC leaders Sujit Bose and Partha Bhowmick interact with
Image Source : PTI TMC leaders Sujit Bose and Partha Bhowmick interact with villagers during their visit to Sandeshkhali

Calcutta High Court on Wednesday ruled that absconding TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh of Sandeshkhali can be arrested by CBI, ED or West Bengal Police.

The court earlier had observed that it is surprising that the main accused Shajahan Sheikh has not been arrested by the state police so far. The division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam refused to interfere into a single bench order that allowed Suvendu Adhikari and another BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh to visit Sandeshkhali village panchayat area of Sandeshkhali Block II in North 24 Parganas district on Tuesday.

The riverine Sandeshkhali area has been witnessing protests over allegations of sexual atrocities and land grab by some ruling TMC leaders.

"It is rather surprising that the person who is said to be the core for the problem being precipitated cannot be apprehended still and is on the run, defying law," the division bench said. Stating that the court does not know whether he is being protected or not, it said that the fact is that he has not been secured. "It could mean that the state police machinery doesn't have the wherewithal to secure him or (he) is outside the jurisdiction of the state police," the court observed during the hearing of an appeal by the state government challenging the single bench order, which also stayed until further orders the imposition of Section 144 in some areas of Sandeshkhali by the administration.

"We will ask him to surrender, let's see what he does," the court said, adding, "What's more important is that the person who has masterminded the whole thing is still absconding."

The division bench presided by Chief Justice Sivagnanam noted that a single bench of Justice Apurba Sinha Roy had on February 12 taken suo motu cognisance of allegations of sexual assault at gunpoint and forcible taking away tribal land.

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