The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation the case pertaining to the attack on Enforcement Directorate officials in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali on January 5, Live Law reported.

The officials of the central law enforcement agency were allegedly attacked when they were carrying out raids at the house of Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with the alleged ration distribution scam.

On Tuesday, the bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya overturned an earlier order under which a Special Investigation Team comprising members of the state police was constituted to investigate the matter.

The court also directed West Bengal to transfer the custody of Sheikh and all documents related to the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The court held that the West Bengal Police was “biased and every attempt is being made to delay the investigation in order to protect the accused, who has been absconding for more than 50 days”, Live Law reported.

Sheikh was arrested by the police on February 29.

The court said that Sheikh is a “strongman” with connections to the state’s ruling party and that the police had played “hide and seek” to shield the accused.

“We have no hesitation in our mind to hold that this confidence has been shaken and there can be no better case than the case on hand which requires to be transferred to be investigated by CBI,” the court said, according to Live Law.

Hours later, the West Bengal government challenged the High Court’s order in the Supreme Court, Bar and Bench reported. A top court’s bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the papers to be placed before the chief justice for the listing.

On February 29, Trinamool Congress suspended Sheikh for six years amid mounting pressure on the party to take action against its leader.

Sheikh and his associates Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar have also been accused by a group of women in Sandeshkhali of sexual assault and land-grabbing. While Sardar was arrested on February 11, Hazra was arrested on February 17.

Also read: Sandeshkhali: How alleged excesses of a local Trinamool leader snowballed into a political war