Hand over Sheikh Shahjahan to CBI today: Calcutta HC tells Bengal Police

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday ordered an independent probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the attack on ED and CAPF teams at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district on January 5.

A division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya also directed the state police to hand over the accused mastermind behind the attack, Sheikh Shahjahan, from the custody of the CID to the investigating officers of the CBI on Tuesday itself.

The bench also directed the state police to hand over all the case-related documents to the CBI.

The court was hearing a plea moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking an independent CBI probe into the matter after reserving its judgement on Monday.

Initially, the single-judge bench of Justice Jay Sengupta had ordered a probe into the attack on ED and CAPF teams in Sandeshkhali on January 5, which was allegedly orchestrated by Shahjahan, by a joint SIT of the West Bengal Police and the CBI.

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However, the ED had challenged the order and demanded that the probe be independently handled by the CBI. At that point of time, the division bench had put an interim stay on the formation and probe by a joint SIT.

In the meantime, Shahjahan was arrested by the police on the night of February 28 after being on the run for 55 days, and the CID of the state police was handed over the probe.

Welcoming the high court order, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Samik Bhattacharya said on Tuesday that this is a positive development considering the widespread fear that evidence might have been tampered had Shahjahan remained in state police custody for long.

“This is a welcome verdict given the current role of the state police, which is restricted to just blindly following the directions of the ruling party and guarding the accused persons,” Bhattacharya said.

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