The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the West Bengal government’s plea challenging the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into allegations of land grabbing and sexual harassment against suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh, reported The Indian Express.

The bench of Justices BR Gavai and KV Viswanathan questioned why the state government was “interested in protecting someone”, the newspaper reported.

The bench observed that during the last hearing on April 29, the counsel representing the state had sought the matter to be adjourned when the same query was raised.

On April 10, the High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to take up the matter after hearing public interest litigations seeking an independent probe into the allegations.

On January 5, Enforcement Directorate officials were allegedly attacked at Sandeshkhali village in the state’s North 24 Parganas district when they were carrying out raids at Sheikh’s house 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 for several years and also of grabbing their lands for prawn cultivation. Sheikh, Hazra and Sardar were arrested in February.

In its petition before the Supreme Court, the state government called the High Court’s order perverse, illegal and arbitrary, which deserves to be set aside, reported The Indian Express.

The Calcutta High Court in May directed the West Bengal government to cooperate with the Central Bureau of Investigation in its investigation against Sheikh. The central agency is also investigating the case relating to the attack on the Enforcement Directorate officials in Sandeshkhali.