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Sheikh Shahjahan will be arrested within seven days: TMC's Kunal Ghosh

Kolkata (West Bengal): Hours after Calcutta High Court clarified that there is "no stay order" on the arrest of Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan and West Bengal Police is free to arrest TMC leader, the party said that the prime accused in the Sandeshkhali case, who has been at large since last month, will be arrested in a week.

"We are confident that Sheikh Shahjahan will be arrested within seven days," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said in a joint press conference with state Minister Bratya Basu on Monday.

Ghosh said that the Calcutta High Court has given back the right to arrest Sheikh Shahjahan to the West Bengal Police after party General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee brought up the issue of "legal complication".

"Abhishek had rightly said that due to legal complications, the state police could not take action on Shahjahan. Today, while issuing a clarification on Abhishek's statement, the High Court has given back the right to take action to the West Bengal police. We thank the High Court," Ghosh said.

Reading out the order of the Calcutta High Court due to which the state police could not take action on Shahjahan, Ghosh said, "...Therefore till the appeals are heard and disposed of, orders and directions issued by the learned single bench in the impugned order dated January 17, 2024 shall remain stayed untill further orders."

"It goes without saying that the West Bengal state police shall also be restrained from proceeding with the investigation in the cases which have been registered by them," the order read.

Earlier in the day, the Calcutta High Court Justice asked to issue a notice in the Sandeshkhali case and said, "There is no reason to not arrest him."

"Public notice shall be given in this case. There is no stay order in Sandeshkhali cases. There is no reason to not arrest him," the Court said.
Earlier on Sunday, Abhishek Banerjee said that his party is not defending absconding leader Sheikh Shahjahan, but the High Court has tied the hands of the state police.

"The masters and defenders of human rights are saying in the light every day, arrest him, arrest him, what will the police do if the High Court ties their hands? ED officials were assaulted on January 5, the Calcutta High Court constituted a SIT in the incident. The ED appealed and sought a stay on the verdict. The Chief Justice's bench allowed that request. On March 6, there will be hearing. How will the police arrest if the High Court ties the hands of the state police administration? The police should be given 15 days or a month to take action based on the FIR," Banerjee said.

Women in Sandeshkhali have been up in arms over the last few days over alleged atrocities committed on them by TMC leader Sheikh Shajahan and his aides.

Shahjahan has been absconding since January, ever since Enforcement Directorate officials were attacked during a raid at his residence in connection with the alleged ration scam.

Two Trinamool leaders, Uttam Sardar and Shibu Hazra, who are close to Shahjahan, have already been arrested.

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