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Sandeshkhali: ED Books Absconding Sheikh Shahjahan In Money Laundering Case, Rejects His Anticipatory Bail Plea

Women in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali have accused Shahjahan Sheikh of involvement in land-grabbing activities and perpetrating sexual assault, allegedly through coercive means.

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X/@ANI
Women in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali have accused Shahjahan Sheikh of involvement in land-grabbing activities and perpetrating sexual assault Photo: X/@ANI
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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday registered a case against Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan, the central figure in the Sandeshkhali row in West Bengal, on money laundering charges.

Later on Friday ED also rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Shahjahan.

Raids were underway at Sheikh Shahjahan's house and six other locations. on Friday.

Women in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali have accused Shahjahan Sheikh of involvement in land-grabbing activities and perpetrating sexual assault, allegedly through coercive means.

ED rejects Shahjahan's anticipatory bail plea

The Enforcement Directorate objected to an anticipatory bail request from TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh in a Kolkata court.

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The agency claimed that Sheikh, who is under investigation for an alleged ration distribution scam in West Bengal, is highly influential.

The judge reserved judgment on Sheikh's bail request after hearing arguments from both sides.

Deputy Solicitor General Dhiraj Trivedi, representing the agency, told the court that granting anticipatory bail to Sheikh would significantly impact the investigation due to his influence.

According to PTI, 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.

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The counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) argued against the request for anticipatory bail, informing Special CBI court Judge Prasanta Mukhopadhyay that their officials were unable to search Sheikh's premises as he quickly gathered a mob within 15 minutes of their arrival.

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.

Shahjahan has been absconding law enforcement since a mob, allegedly linked to him, attacked ED officials during a search operation related to a ration scam on January 5. The incident heightened tensions and also raised concerns about the influence and power wielded by Shahjahan Sheikh and his supporters in the region.

While Shahjahan remains missing, situation has led to a crackdown by the state police, his aides Shibu Hazra and Uttam Sardar were nabbed.

Raids and search operations were started by the ED early Friday morning at five different places in and around the city including Howrah, Bijoygarh and Birati, officials said.

"These raids are in connection with an old case of fraudulent land grab against Shajahan Sheikh and his associates. These people were involved in fish businesses with Shajahan. We are looking for a few specific documents", an officer said.

The ECIR is generally filed by the ED as the case Information report. It is similar to a First Information Report (FIR) in criminal cases, he explained.

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