Kolkata: In a dramatic turn of events, the West Bengal government on Tuesday chose defiance over compliance, refusing to surrender custody of Sandeshkhali violence accused Sheikh Shahjahan to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) despite a clear directive from the Calcutta High Court. The former Trinamool heavyweight stands accused of a litany of charges, including extortion, land grabbing, and sexual assault in Bengal’s Sandeshkhali region.

HC Order Ignored: CBI Left Empty-Handed

Despite the High Court’s explicit instruction to transfer Shahjahan’s custody to the police’s criminal investigation department (CID), the state government held its ground, citing an appeal to the Supreme Court as justification. Consequently, a CBI team dispatched to claim custody departed from Kolkata’s police headquarters without their intended prize, leaving the legal tug-of-war unresolved.


#WATCH | CBI team left from police headquarters in Kolkata. West Bengal CID did not hand over custody of Sheikh Shahjahan to CBI as the state government went to the Supreme Court regarding this matter. pic.twitter.com/sAJeWoihYK
— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2024


Assets Frozen: ED Cracks Down

Simultaneously, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) made significant strides in its pursuit of justice, provisionally attaching assets totaling Rs 12.78 Crore linked to Shahjahan and his associates. The seizure, which includes a variety of immovable properties and bank accounts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of 2002, underscores the gravity of the allegations against the former Trinamool leader.

High Court’s Scathing Rebuke

The Calcutta High Court did not mince words in its assessment of the state police’s handling of the case, lambasting their perceived bias and advocating for a thorough investigation by the CBI. Echoing the sentiments of many, the court emphasized the need for impartiality and integrity in resolving the accusations against Shahjahan.

BJP’s Allegations; Sandeshkhali’s Unrest

The arrest of Sheikh Shahjahan has not quelled the storm of controversy surrounding his actions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of sheltering Shahjahan from the scrutiny of federal investigative agencies, suggesting political motivations behind his sudden apprehension.

Meanwhile, Sandeshkhali continues to reverberate with protests, as women in the community demand justice for the alleged atrocities committed by Shahjahan and his cohorts. Their voices, amplified by widespread discontent, serve as a potent reminder of the stakes involved in this ongoing saga of power, politics, and justice.