Three ED officials attacked during raid in West Bengal; Governor warns govt of 'constitutional options'

The attack took place when ED officers raided the residence of TMC leader Sheikh Sajahan regarding investigation into an alleged ration distribution scam.
Last Updated : 05 January 2024, 15:37 IST

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A team of ED officers was attacked by a mob in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Friday when they arrived to search the house of a local Trinamool leader. The attackers were allegedly the supporters of the Trinamool leader. Terming the incident alarming, Governor C V Ananda Bose warned of “constitutional options” if the state government failed to take action.

The ED teams had arrived at the residence of Sheikh Sajahan in connection with the alleged scam in ration distribution. At Sheikh’s residence, they found the door locked from inside. The leader, ED claimed, refused to open the door.

While the ED sleuths, along with CRPF personnel, were trying to have the door opened, they faced a surprise attack. A mob of over 800 locals arrived with various objects like lathis, stones and bricks, and assaulted the officials.

Slogans were raised against the agency and the Centre, and the official vehicles were vandalised.

“ED officials while discharging their duties were badly attacked by crowds (suspected to be instigated by Sheikh Sajahan and his associates),” an official release stated. Personal and official belongings of the officials were snatched by the mob.

Three officers suffered serious injuries and are undergoing treatment. “Other officers had to escape from the place to save their lives,” the statement added. A complaint has been filed with police for registration of FIR.

Open to constitutional options: Bose

The incident has reignited the claims by opposition parties of alleged “lawlessness” in parts of the state. The ruling Trinamool on most occasions countered such incidents by playing down the allegations as efforts to “malign” the state’s reputation.

Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose, taking an exceptional stand, said that the state is not a “banana republic”. He termed the latest incident as “alarming” and “deplorable”.

Bose said that a civilised government is duty-bound to stop barbarism and vandalism. “If (the) government fails its basic duty, then the Constitution of India will definitely take its course,” he said, while warning about constitutional options at his disposal, for “appropriate action at the appropriate moment”.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari held Mamata Banerjee responsible for the incident, citing her past statements.

State minister Shashi Panja said that Trinamool didn’t support violence, and villagers complained that the central force personnel who accompanied the ED team had provoked them. She termed the development “election-centric”.

Published 05 January 2024, 15:37 IST

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