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West Bengal – High Court transfers probe against Shahjahan Sheikh to CBI

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Kolkata (West Bengal). The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday transferred the probe into allegations of sexual assault and forcible land grabbing by TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh, to the CBI.

A division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya refused to appoint an Enquiry Committee headed by a former High Court judge and instead transferred the probe to the CBI.

“We have no doubt in our mind to hold that an impartial enquiry is required to be done by an agency which has power to probe the criminal angle stated to involved. Therefore, this court is of the considered opinion that it is necessary in the interest of justice and fair play and for expeditious consideration of the various complaints and allegations an impartial enquiry is required to be conducted. The state has to provide the required support to the said agency to be appointed by us to enquire into the matter,” the bench said.

The Court considered the nature of the allegations which involve crime against women as well as forcible grabbing of lands of citizens including those belonging to scheduled tribe communities.

“This Court is of the considered view that instead of constituting an expert committee to be headed by a retired High Court Judge, the CBI may be directed to investigate and submit a report with regard to the allegations and complaints of the persons of Sandeshkhali as the CBI is already in seisin over the investigation in respect of an incident which very recently took place at Sandeshkhali,” the bench ordered.

It further directed the CBI to ensure confidentiality of the complainants and ordered the agency to create a dedicated portal/email ID to lodge complaints.

The District Magistrate of North 24 Parganas was ordered to give adequate publicity regarding the same.

The Court was hearing a case concerning unrest in Sandeshkhalli following allegations of sexual assault and land grabbing in the area.

The case involves allegations that lands of residents in the village were forcefully grabbed by Shahjahan Sheikh, a politician who was suspended by the TMC earlier this year. Sheikh and his aides were further accused of sexually assaulting women in the village.

The Calcutta High Court on March 5 transferred the probe into the attack on the ED officers to the CBI.

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