Sandeshkhali Violence: Main Accused Shahjahan Sheikh Arrested After 55 Days Of Manhunt; Sent To 10 Days Police Custody

Sandeshkhali Violence: Main Accused Shahjahan Sheikh Arrested After 55 Days Of Manhunt; Sent To 10 Days Police Custody

Shahjahan's arrest comes a day before PM Narendra Modi's state visit on March 1.

Aritra SinghaUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 08:54 PM IST
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TMC Leader Sheikh Shahjahan | File photo

Kolkata: A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state, state police on the wee hours of Thursday had arrested absconding Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan from Minakha area near Sandeshkhali. Shahjahan was absconding for the last 56 days.

On producing him before the Basirhat court, Shahjahan was given 10 days police custody. Following the court’s order, Shahjahan was brought to Bhabani Bhawan in Kolkata.

Earlier, while being taken to court, Shahjahan refused to speak in front of the media.

After Sheikh Shahjahan’s lawyer moved Calcutta High Court pleading for anticipatory bail for his client, Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam said that the lawyer of Shajahan will be busy for the next 10 years.

“Mr Counsel, this man has some 43 cases against him. Mind you, now for the next 10 years, this man will keep you busy. You will have to handle all his cases till next 10 years at least," the Chief Justice added, according to the Bar and Bench.

Following the arrest of Shahjahan, ADG (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar questioned why the Enforcement Directorate (ED) did not arrest the absconding TMC leader.

“Last night, we arrested Sheikh Shahjahan from Bamanpukur Anchal of Minakhan PS. We had legal obstructions but ED didn't. Why didn't they arrest him? This question must be raised. Cases were registered in other issues in Sandeshkhali after February 8 against Sheikh Shahjahan. But all of these were incidents dating back to 2-3 years. If a complaint is registered for a case that took place 2-3 years ago, it takes time to investigate the same. But in the recent incident, we could have investigated and arrested but we couldn’t due to legal hurdles,” said Sarkar.

Notably, TMC national secretary Abhishek Banerjee a couple of days back held the judiciary responsible for the delay in Shahjahan’s arrest.

“There is a stay by Calcutta High Court appealed by ED. State police hands and feet are tied otherwise Shahjahan would have been arrested long back. If the party can take action against Partha Chatterjee, Jyotipriyo Mullick then who is Sheikh Shahjahan,” Banerjee was heard saying.

Within a few hours of arrest, Shahjahan was suspended from TMC for six years.

TMC leader and education minister Bratya Basu questioned whether Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will take action against Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.

“We have decided to Suspend Sheikh Shahjahan from the Party for 6 years. Like always we have set examples. But we dare the Prime Minister to suspend Suvendu, Himanta, Narayan Rane etc. Tomorrow he will share the stage with Suvendu Adhikari during his visit to West Bengal. What about Brij Bhushan, Ajay Teni Mishra and Manipur CM?” questioned Basu.

Governor CV Ananda Bose expressing his joy said, “Like always there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am happy that good things are happening,” said the Governor.

Meanwhile, ED officials moved Calcutta High Court for a fast track hearing of their case which was scheduled to be heard on March 6.

According to ED sources, “There is a hunch that the state police might destroy the evidence for which we want the hearing of our case on Friday instead of March 6,” said ED sources.

Oppositions attack

Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari who visited Sandeshkhali was seen sharing sweets but slammed the state government for the delay in arrest.

BJP state police Sukanta Majumdar said, “The body language of Sheikh Shahjahan didn’t seem that he was arrested by police and on the contrary, it was like he had arrested the police.”

CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty also questioned whether he was arrested or was removed to ‘safe custody’ by the police.

Sandeshkhali celebrate both Holi and Diwali

The people of Sandeshkhali came out on the streets celebrating the arrest of Sheikh Shahjahan.

The women were seen playing with colors and the men bursted crackers.

“We are relieved that Sheikh Shahjahan is arrested. He is a criminal and should deserve capital punishment,” said the villagers.

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