Calcutta HC reserves order on ED's plea to transfer Sandeshkhali probe to CBI

CBI's lawyer submitted that the agency was willing to take up the investigation if directed by the court

Calcutta High Court (photo: IANS)
Calcutta High Court (photo: IANS)


The Calcutta High Court on Monday reserved an order in a prayer by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for transferring the investigation into the 5 January attack on ED officials from West Bengal Police to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).

The officials were allegedly assaulted by a large mob as they conducted a raid on the premises of local TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh in Sandeshkhali, despite Central Armed Police Force personnel accompanying the raiding party.

Hearing in the matter before a division bench presided over by chief justice T.S. Sivagnanam concluded following submissions by the ED, the state and the CBI.

Alleging that the state police were biased, additional solicitor-general S.V. Raju submitted that they deliberately arrested Sheikh following an FIR by the ED on the attack on its officials by a nearly 1,000-strong mob on 5 January in Sandeshkhali, even though more than 40 other cases have been pending against him for years.

The investigation in the case was handed over to the CID by the state government from after Basirhat police arrested Sheikh. Raju claimed that this was done to deny the CBI custody of Sheikh even if the probe is transferred to it, as the maximum police custody period of an accused is 14 days.

Advocate-general Kishore Dutta, appearing for the state, opposed the prayer for transfer of the investigation, claiming that it was the state police which rescued the ED officials and managed to ensure a safe passage for them out of Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district.

The CBI's lawyer submitted that the agency was willing to take up the investigation if directed by the court.

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