CBI gets custody of Shajahan Sheikh from CID in ED official attack case

A team of CBI officials reached CID headquarters Bhawani Bhawan before 4 PM. But the handover from the state agency took place at around 6:48 PM, despite the Calcutta High Court setting a deadline of 4.15 PM.
Security personnel stand guard outside Bhavani Bhawan (West Bengal Police headquarters) where CBI officials arrived to take Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan, accused in the Sandeshkhali case, in Kolkata, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.
Security personnel stand guard outside Bhavani Bhawan (West Bengal Police headquarters) where CBI officials arrived to take Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan, accused in the Sandeshkhali case, in Kolkata, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Kolkata | The CBI on Wednesday got the custody of Sandeshkhali ED official attack case accused Shajahan Sheikh from the West Bengal CID, following two orders by the Calcutta High Court to do so on two consecutive days.

In a fresh directive on Wednesday, the high court directed the state government to "immediately implement" its Tuesday's judgement to transfer a case on the attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at Sandeshkhali to the CBI and hand over custody of the main accused Sheikh to the central agency.

A team of CBI officials reached CID headquarters Bhawani Bhawan before 4 PM. But the handover from the state agency took place at around 6:48 PM, despite the Calcutta High Court setting a deadline of 4.15 PM.

"Shajahan Sheikh was handed over to CBI," a CID official said.

The CID took him to a state-run hospital for a medical check-up before handing him over to the CBI.

The CBI officials are likely to take him to an ESI Hospital and then to Nizam Palace, the city office of the central investigating agency.

He was arrested in a case related to a mob attack on ED officials at Sandeshkhali on January 5 when the central agency had gone to search his premises in connection with an alleged ration distribution scam.

"This is shameful. Despite the Calcutta high court setting a 4.15 deadline, Shajahan Sheikh was handed over more than two hours. This only proves that the TMC government has the least regard for the judiciary," BJP MLA Shankar Ghosh said.

The CBI on Tuesday failed to get the custody of suspended TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh from the West Bengal CID even after waiting for more than two hours.

The CID said the leader of Sandeshkhali was not handed over to the central agency as the state government had moved the Supreme Court against an order of the Calcutta High Court.

But an apex court bench refused an urgent listing of the plea and asked the state's counsel to mention the matter before the Registrar General.

Sheikh, one of the key accused in cases of atrocities against women in Sandeshkhali, was arrested last Thursday by the West Bengal police. The case was later taken over to the West Bengal CID.

Earlier in the day, the ED moved a contempt petition before a division bench presided by Justice Harish Tandon against the state government claiming that it did not implement Tuesday's orders of a division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam.

The court noted that though the state pleaded that it has filed before the Supreme Court an SLP challenging Tuesday's judgement, there is no interim stay granted on the implementation of the orders till the time it was passing its order.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju submitted that the state was trying to deny custody of Sheikh to the CBI, claiming that the purpose of the transfer of probe to the central agency was getting frustrated.

He submitted that 15 days is the maximum custody period of an accused in a case and already the state has Sheikh's custody for about a week.

Following Sheikh's arrest by the state police from Minakhan, 30 km from Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district on February 29, a local court had remanded him to police custody for 10 days.

Raju submitted before the bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, that the pendency of a special leave petition (SLP) challenging an order does not mean there is any automatic stay on it unless there is an express order to that effect.

The division bench directed the alleged contemnors to file an affidavit-in-opposition to the contempt application within two weeks from the date. The court directed the ED to file a reply thereto, if any, within a week thereafter. The contempt application will be taken up for hearing again after three weeks, it directed.

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