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ED director visits Kolkata, agency finds Bengal police soft on fugitive TMC leader Shahjahan

The ED, in a statement, alleged that the Bengal police had diluted the charges against Shahjahan when its complaint entailed more stringent sections.

Screenshot 2024 01 10 065926KOLKATA: The director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Rahul Navin, on Tuesday visited the federal agency’s Kolkata office in Salt Lake and held a meeting with officials. He inquired whether the state police updated them on the probe into the incident in which three ED officers investigating a foodgrain scam case were bashed up and left bleeding by followers of a local TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh in Sandeshkhali, North 24 Parganas.

Navin also met Governor CV Ananda Bose at Raj Bhavan and discussed the incident with the constitutional head of the state.

The ED, in a statement, alleged that the Bengal police had diluted the charges against Shahjahan when its complaint entailed more stringent sections. “Though our complaint attracts stringent sections including attempt to murder, the state police registered the FIR under lighter sections like rioting and wrongful restraint, most of which are bailable ones. The Bengal police have not even shared the copy of the FIR with us,” said an ED official.

Navin, who flew to Kolkata from Delhi on Tuesday, held a three-hour meeting with the central agency’s officers at its CGO Complex office. “The head of the agency took down blow-by-blow accounts of the attack that we faced when we tried to search Shahjahan’s house in the foodgrain scam case. He also asked whether the BSF guarding the India-Bangladesh border was put on high alert about the possibility of Shahjahan’s attempt to sneak into the neighbouring country,” added the official.

Though the director general of police Rajeev Kumar said whoever responsible for violating the law would not be spared, West Bengal police are in the dark about the whereabouts of Shahjahan even four days after the attack on the ED sleuths. “Shahjahan’s cellphone is switched off since the incident and no one spotted him in the areas where he runs his businesses and network of his political party,” said a police officer of Basirhat police district.

Shahjahan’s brother Sheikh Alamgir said he had no idea about the whereabouts of his brother. “I tried to contact my brother several times but his phone is switched off. He did not return home since the incident on Friday,” he said.

Haji Siddiqui Mollah, chief of the TMC-dominated panchayat in Sandeshkhali, said he doesn’t believe that Shahjahan fled from the area. “He is very much in the area and overseeing party’s affairs because the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to be held this year. Shahjahan is not person who will get scared and flee. But I have no idea where he is. Had I been aware of it, I would have been with him,” he said.

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