Trinamool's 7-Day Claim On Sandeshkhali Strongman's Arrest After Court Order

Trinamool strongman Sheikh Shahjahan is at the centre of the massive row surrounding Sandeshkhali island in Bengal's North 24 Parganas district

Sheikh Shahjahan is on the run since a mob attacked a team of ED officials


Sandeshkhali strongman Sheikh Shahjahan will be arrested within seven days, Trinamool Congress said today, hours after the Calcutta High Court clarified that there is no order stopping Bengal police from arresting him.

The seven-day claim was made by Trinamool's state general secretary Kunal Ghosh and Bengal minister Bratya Basu during an interaction with the media. Earlier, Mr Ghosh said in a post on X that the matter was stuck in legal tangles. "Thanks to the High Court today for clarifying the matter and allowing the police to take action. Shahjahan will be arrested within seven days," he said.

The Trinamool strongman is at the centre of the massive row surrounding Sandeshkhali island in Bengal's North 24 Parganas district. Local residents have accused Shahjahan and his aides of land grab, extortion and harassment. Allegations of sexual violence have also come up. He has been on the run for a month now after a mob attacked an Enforcement Directorate team that had come to the island to raid his home in a corruption case.

The Trinamool's undertaking came hours after the high court's clarification on the matter. "We clarify there is no stay on arrest in any proceeding. There is only a first information report and he (Shahjahan) has been named as an accused. He is absconding. Obviously he needs to be arrested," the court said.

Earlier, senior Trinamool leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee had claimed that the Bengal government had not been able to arrest Shahjahan because the court had "tied hands the police".

"If the High Court ties hands of state administration (then) what can be done? After the January 5 incident - when it was claimed ED officers were attacked - the central agency filed a complaint and the High Court ordered the constitution of a SIT with state police and central agencies," Mr Banerjee yesterday said.

"Around 10-12 days later ED appealed for stay in the High Court. The plea was accepted. This means they did not want any investigation, arrest, summons, or interrogation," he added.

"...those calling for Shahjahan's arrest should make an appointment and ask the court why this stay was granted. Was it to ensure Bharatiya Janata Party could secure mileage from this incident?" he asked.

Mr Banerjee's comments were slammed by the Opposition as "contempt of court". Shortly after the high court order, Trinamool MP Santanu Sen posted on X that the bench's remark had proved that whatever Mr Banerjee said was "perfect". Assuring that the Mamata Banerjee government would take action against Shahjahan, he took a swipe at the Centre. "Now @MamataOfficial Govt&police will definitely take step against #SekhSajahan like others @AITCofficial leaders. But what about Nirab/Lalit/Mehul? Shielding them is"MODI KA GUARANTEE"," he said.