Bengal Govt Moves SC After Calcutta HC Orders CBI Probe Into Sandeshkhali Violence

Kolkata: The West Bengal government moved the Supreme Court after the Calcutta High Court issued an order to hand over the custody of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan to the CBI.

The TMC government led by Mamata Banerjee filed an appeal in the apex court challenging the ruling of the High Court, directing the state police to transfer the investigation into the attack on officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Sandeshkhali violence to the CBI. The high court also directed the police to transfer custody of Shahjahan Sheikh to the Central agency by 4.30 PM.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Jaideep Gupta, and Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the Bengal government, presented the plea seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court before a bench presided by Justice Sanjiv Khanna on Tuesday. The judge ordered that the documents be submitted to Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, according to a report of Live Law.

In its ruling, the High Court dismissed a previous decision to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising state police officials and ordered that all pertinent documents and custody of Sheikh be transferred to the CBI.

The High Court bench comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya underscored the necessity of a fair and impartial investigation, particularly in light of the accused’s purported political influence and affiliations within the ruling party.

“The accused, who was apprehended on February 29 after being on the run for more than 50 days, is not an ordinary citizen. He is an elected representative of the public, holding the highest office in a Zilla Parishad. He was fielded as the candidate in the elections held for the said post by the political party which is ruling dispensation. Thus, it has become imperative and absolutely necessary for doing complete justice and enforcing the fundamental rights of the public in general and the public of the locality that the cases be transferred to the CBI for investigation and to proceed further,” the court noted in its order.

The CBI had moved the HC arguing that the police custody of Sheikh would defeat the purpose of the investigation, which involved the accused orchestrating an assault on members of the ED. The situation deteriorated after the attack on ED officers in Sandeshkhali with widespread reports of sexual assault and land grabbing being attributed to Shahjahan and his followers, belonging to the Trinamool Congress.

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