ED opposes Shajahan Sheikh’s anticipatory bail plea, says he is very influential

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday opposed an anticipatory bail prayer made by Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh before a Kolkata court in connection with the agency’s probe into an alleged ration distribution scam in West Bengal, claiming that he is a very influential person.

The judge reserved judgment on the anticipatory bail prayer of Sheikh following the conclusion of submissions by both parties.

The agency’s counsel, Deputy Solicitor General Dhiraj Trivedi submitted before the court that Sheikh is a very influential person and grant of anticipatory bail to him would severely affect the investigation.

He submitted that a nearly 1000-strong mob had attacked the ED officials when they went to search the premises of Sheikh at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district last month in connection with the alleged scam.

Opposing the anticipatory bail prayer, the ED counsel submitted before Special CBI court Judge Prasanta Mukhopadhyay that its officials could not search the premises of Sheikh as he had managed to gather the mob within about 15 minutes after they reached his address.

Sheikh’s counsel submitted that he cannot be termed as absconding since his anticipatory bail prayer is pending before the court and that the ED has not been able to produce any document related to money laundering against him.

Moving the prayer before the special CBI court over summons to him by the ED in connection with the alleged ration distribution scam, Sheikh’s counsel had on February 12 claimed that he is not an accused in the agency’s complaint in the money laundering case, in which state minister Jyoti Priya Mallick was arrested by the agency.

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The TMC leader has not been seen in public since the mob attacked ED officials when they went to search his premises on January 5.

He has not appeared at the ED office in Salt Lake here on the summons sent to him.

They stated that ED officials were attacked, in which three of them were injured and their belongings looted, by a mob and had to leave Sandeshkhali without being able to search the premises of Sheikh on January 5.

The ED officials later held a search operation at Sheikh’s premises on January 24.

The Calcutta High Court had on February 12 said that it can take judicial notice of the fact that the ongoing protests and unrest in Sandeshkhali precipitated after the ED officials went to search the premises of Sheikh on January 5 and were attacked by a mob.

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