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Calcutta High Court clarifies to state: There is no bar on police to arrest Sheikh Shahjahan

It is fact that the court has issued a stay on the process of investigation both by the state police or the ED into the Sandeshkhali incident but there is no stay on the arrest Sheikh Shahjahan, clarified Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam

Tapas Ghosh Calcutta Published 29.02.24, 06:46 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Calcutta High Court on Wednesday clarified that although there was a stay order on the process of investigation into the attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at Sandeshkhali, there was no bar on police to arrest absconding Trinamul Congress strongman Sheikh Shahjahan.

"It is fact that the court has issued a stay on the process of investigation both by the state police or the ED into the Sandeshkhali incident but there is no stay on the arrest Sheikh Shahjahan. Stay on investigation does not prevent the police from arresting Sahjahan," clarified Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, who headed a division bench.

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The division bench's clarification came in response to the state government's plea for the same. The state wanted to know from the court how the police would arrest Shahjahan when there was a stay on the investigation process in the same case.

Last Monday, the issue of Shahjahan's arrest during the operation of a stay on the investigation pertaining to the January 5 attack on the ED officials during a raid on the Trinamul strongman's house at Sarberia in Sandeshkhali was raised. But that day, too, Chief Justice had said that even though there was stay on the investigation, the police could arrest Shahjahan.

Appearing for the CBI, advocate K.V. Raju prayed for handing the probe into the Sandeshkhali incident to the central agency. "If the CBI is handed over the investigation, it can arrest Shahjahan. Probe by state police into the investigation will create problems for the CBI," Raju said.

In his reply, the Chief Justice said: "The cases moved both by the ED and the State seeking to conduct the probe individually would be taken up on Monday. On that day, the court will decide on the fate of the investigation."

Justice Jay Sengupta of the court had ordered that the CBI and state police would jointly conduct the probe into the incident. For this purpose, the judge also constituted a special investigation team (SIT) by taking officers of both the CBI and the state police.

But the order was challenged both by the ED and the state before the Chief Justice's division bench. The ED sought an order asking the CBI to conduct the probe individually and the state had claimed it could allow it to continue its probe into the incident.

The division bench will settle the issue on Monday, the Chief Justice assured.

Nod for trip

In another event, Justice Kaushik Chanda of Calcutta High Court on Wednesday issued an order allowing Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and a fact-finding committee under the leadership of former Patna High Court Chief Justice.

Suvendu has been allowed to visit Jeliakhali at Sandeshkhali tomorrow with a condition that he would not make any provocative statement there. The fact-finding committee will visit Majherpara and Naskarpara in Sandeshkhali on March 3.
For going to Majherpara, Patrapara would have to be crossed and the area is under Section 144 of the CrPC.

The judge said the police would have to keep vigil that no disturbance took place there.

State' Plea

Advocate General on Wednesday moved the court of Justice Kaushik Chanda and alleged Suvendu Adhikari, during his recent visit to Sandedhkhali, had violated the order of the court and made several provocative statements to motivate people in violence. Justice Chanda asked the state to file an affidavit stating its complaint.

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