Shajahan Sheikh to be arrested in 7 days, party doesn't support culprits: TMC

From the very beginning, we have been saying it was the ED which stopped the case registered by us, says party spokesman

Shajahan Sheikh (photo: IANS)
Shajahan Sheikh (photo: IANS)


West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday said its member Shahjahan Sheikh, who has been accused of sexual atrocities and land grabbing in the state's Sandeshkhali area in North 24 Parganas district, will be arrested in seven days, asserting that the party doesn't support culprits.

The Calcutta High Court on Monday clarified there is no stay on the arrest of Shahjahan, PTI reported. The TMC's assertion comes immediately after the high court clarified that there is no stay on the arrest.

"About the arrest of Shahjahan Sheikh, Abhishek Banerjee is correct. The matter was stuck in the legal tangle of the court. The opposition was playing politics using this opportunity. Thanks to the high court today for clarifying the matter and allowing the police to take action. Shajahan will be arrested within seven days," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh posted on X.

TMC national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee had on Sunday claimed that Shahjahan could not be arrested owing to legal tangles and a stay on FIRs filed by the police.

Later, addressing a press conference, Ghosh accused the opposition of politicising the court order. "Because of the legal tangle, the state police were unable to arrest Shahjahan. Now with the court clarifying everything, Shahjahan will be arrested very soon. We thank the high court. From the very beginning, we have been saying this. It was the ED (Enforcement Directorate) which stopped the case registered by us," he said.

West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu said the allegations that the TMC is trying to protect Shahjahan are "baseless".

"If West Bengal Police could apprehend Saradha group chairman Sudipto Sen from Kashmir, they can certainly arrest Shahjahan. We have also taken action against leaders implicated in corruption cases. Therefore, there are no obstacles from the party's end or from the administration preventing the arrest of Shahjahan Sheikh," Basu said at the press conference. Saradha group chairman Sudipto Sen was accused in a Ponzi scam.

The high court on Monday directed that Shahjahan, the ED, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the state home secretary be impleaded as parties in the suo motu matter initiated on the allegations of sexual atrocities on women and the land grab of tribal people.

Ghosh accused the BJP of trying to vitiate the atmosphere of Sandeshkhali. "There is no harm in the BJP delegation visiting the spot. But every day these leaders are visiting the area and trying to vitiate the atmosphere," he said.

The riverine Sandeshkhali area, situated on the borders of the Sundarbans, about 100 km from Kolkata, has been on the boil for more than a month with protests against the absconding Shahjahan and his supporters.

The unrest in the area stems from accusations against Shahjahan and his supporters of land grabbing and sexual assault, with the local TMC strongman evading authorities since a mob attack on ED officials who had raided premises belonging to him on 5 January.

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