The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday registered a first information report to investigate the allegations of land grabbing and sexual harassment in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali village, PTI reported quoting unidentified officials.

The central agency has named five persons in the first information report.

On January 5, Enforcement Directorate officials were allegedly attacked at Sandeshkhali in the state’s North 24 Parganas district when they were carrying out raids at the house of suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with an alleged ration distribution scam.

A mob allegedly attacked the Enforcement Directorate officials with stones, bricks and batons.

Following this, several local women accused Sheikh and his associates, Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, of torturing and sexually harassing them over several years, and also of grabbing their lands for prawn cultivation.

The women had held protests demanding that the three men be arrested. They alleged that Sheikh and his associates used to survey homes to look for young women, whom they would take to the party office and sexually assault.

Sheikh was arrested by the police on February 29 after absconding for more than 50 days. 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

On April 10, the Calcutta High Court had ordered a court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the alleged incidents of sexual assault and land grabbing in the village.

The court was hearing public interest litigations seeking an independent probe into the allegations. It had also directed the central agency to set up a portal where complaints could be lodged to ensure confidentiality and provide security to victims and witnesses in the case.

Following the court order, the Central Bureau of Investigation had sent a team to the village to ascertain the allegations, PTI reported.

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