ED Officials Attacked During Raid on TMC Leader in West Bengal

Fearing for life, the ED team and the central forces troopers fled from the spot

Kolkata: Three Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials sustained injuries and their car vandalised on Friday morning while conducting a raid on the residence of an influential Trinamul Congress (TMC) leader in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. The raid was part of a probe into the ration scam.

The incident occurred when the ED officials, accompanied by central paramilitary forces, targeted the house of TMC zilla parishad functionary Shahjahan Sheikh in Sarberia village at approximately 7 am.

Shahjahan Sheikh, a close associate of state minister Jyotipriyo Mullick, currently in jail custody in connection with the same scam, was not present at the time of the raid. The ED team attempted to forcibly enter Sheikh's locked residence, prompting approximately 200 villagers, primarily followers of Shahjahan, to surround and attack them with bamboo poles and rods. The confrontation escalated as the villagers also clashed with Central forces jawans. ED assistant director Raj Kumar Ram, along with his colleagues Somnath Dutta and Ankur, suffered injuries in the assault.

The violent episode extended to include mediapersons present at the scene. Fearing for their lives, the ED team and Central forces troopers fled, eventually reaching a nearby ferry ghat, where they were transported by boat to Sandeshkhali police station. The injured ED officials were subsequently brought to Kolkata and admitted to a private hospital in Salt Lake.

Among the wounded, Ram sustained deep head injuries and received six stitches. This marks the first instance of the ED facing such public backlash in the state. The ED headquarters has called for a report on the attack from the Kolkata office. Governor C.V. Ananda Bose strongly condemned the broad daylight assault and summoned state chief secretary B.P. Gopalika, home secretary Nandini Chakraborty, and DGP Rajeev Kumar to Raj Bhavan for an explanation.

Governor Bose expressed his concern, stating, "The ghastly incident is alarming and deplorable to say the least. It is the bounding duty of a civilised government to stop barbarism and vandalism in a democracy. If the government fails in a basic duty, then the constitution of India will definitely take its course."

He continued, "As governor, I reserve all my constitutional options for appropriate actions at the appropriate moment. Flexing muscles and parading paper tigers will not work with the people of Bengal. Jingle Raj and goonda giri will work in a fool's paradise. Bengal is not a banana republic. This pre-election violence will and should find any early end."

Accusing the TMC of unleashing terror, leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari called for an NIA probe into the attack. However, State Minister Shashi Panja claimed, "TMC does not support the violent incident. But the villagers complained that the central forces, accompanying the investigating agency, provoked them."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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