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The South Asian Insider

Trinamool’s Sheikh Shahjahan sent to 10 days' police custody after arrest

Sheikh Shahjahan, the Trinamool Congress strongman accused of sexual violence and land grab by several women in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali, was arrested on Thursday morning after 55 days of absconding and has been sent to 10 days in police custody.
The 53-year-old Trinamool leader was picked up from the Minakhan area in North 24 Parganas, where he was hiding with his associates. Shahjahan was produced in a court in Basirhat at around 10:30 and was remanded to police custody for 10 days.Following the remand, officials announced that the West Bengal CID has taken over the investigation into cases lodged against Shajahan Sheikh.The Trinamool leader has been arrested in a case of assault on Enforcement Directorate officers during a raid on January 5, senior police officer Supratim Sarkar said.Sheikh Shahjahan Arrested | Latest Developments Sheikh Shahjahan has been arrested on complaint by the Enforcement Directorate and charged under Section 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 427 (offence of mischief), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 (common intention), and provisions under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.Following the arrest, the protesting women in Sandeshkhali, who have been demanding action against Shahjahan, celebrated the arrest by sharing sweets. The locals came out in the streets as they distributed sweets and danced in joy as they celebrated.
A large number of women in Sandeshkhali had accused Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of land-grab and sexual assault under coercion. The riverine area has been embroiled in a series of protests for more than a month, demanding the arrest of Sheikh and his accomplices.
After his arrest, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday suspended Sheikh Shahjahan from the party for six years. TMC MP Derek O'Brien announced the decision and said, "We have decided to suspend Sheikh Shahjahan from the party for six years. As always, we walk the talk. We have set examples in the past. We are doing so today."
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday moved the Calcutta High Court seeking an urgent hearing on the case filed in connection with the January 5 assault on the probe agency.
The High Court said the arrested TMC leader did not "deserve any sympathy". It added that it would hear on March 4 Sheikh Shahjahan's four pending bail pleas filed in a lower court over the attack on ED officials. It also said 42 cases were registered against him.
The High Court on Wednesday had directed that the Trinamool Congress leader can also be arrested by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED). However, additional Solicitor General of India SV Raju, appearing for the ED, expressed apprehension that if the state police arrest Sheikh, there is a likelihood of the case being diluted by the state police.
West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, commenting on the arrest, said that the Mamata Banerjee government was "forced to take action due to the continuous agitation by the BJP". Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said, "This is not arrest, this is a mutual adjustment" and said Shahjahan will get "5-star facilities in jail".Trinamool MP Santanu Sen said Shahjahan's arrest was delayed due to the "stay order" and added the arrest proves that "our government follows 'rajdharma' in an administrative manner" and the "BJP should learn 'rajdharma' from the TMC. "Abhishek Banerjee had said that the Police were unable to arrest him due to the court's stay order. He has been arrested within 3-4 days of the removal of the stay order," the Trinamool leader asserted.West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose asserted that the time has come to put criminals, who are ruling the roost in parts of Bengal, behind bars. "This is the beginning of an end. We have to put an end to the cycle of violence in Bengal. In parts of Bengal, the goons are ruling the roost.
This must end and the gangsters should be put behind bars", the governor said.
The arrest comes three days after the Calcutta High Court criticised the state police for the delay in taking action against the Trinamool leader, stating that "he should be arrested" and made it clear that there was no stay order on his arrest. Shajahan had been absconding since January 5, when a mob allegedly affiliated with him attacked the ED officials who had gone to search his premises in connection with a scam.
After Sheikh Shahjahan's arrest, police sources claimed he confessed to inciting the mob that attacked the ED team in January.