A team of officers from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attempting to raid the house of a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader in West Bengal was attacked by a hundreds-strong mob on Friday morning, triggering a Centre vs state row and deepening cracks within the Opposition alliance.
At least three ED officers sustained injuries after they were chased by the mob and pelted with bricks and stones at Sandeshkhali in the North 24 Parganas district while trying to search the premises of Shahjahan Sheikh, the local TMC convener, in connection with a multi-crore ration distribution scam.
“Three officers have suffered grievous injuries as the mob has marched towards ED officials with an intention to cause death… other officers had to escape from the place of the incident without conducting search to save their lives as the mob became very violent,” ED said in a statement.
The agency – which already arrested state food minister Jyotipriyo Mullickin October in connection with the case – said that the mob comprising 800-1,000 people attacked ED officials and 27 accompanying paramilitary personnel with sticks, stones and bricks, while shouting slogans against the agency and the central government. ED vehicles were also badly damaged, the statement added. Sheikh is an associate of Mullick.
“We are taking legal opinion,” said a senior ED official, adding that the Union home ministry was informed of the incident.
The unprecedented attack prompted a wave of condemnation, with state governor CV Ananda Bose summoning chief secretary BP Gopalika, home secretary Nandini Chakraborty and director general of police Rajiv Kumarseeking a report on the matter.