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Another TMC leader arrested in ration scam, supporters attack ED team

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Shankar Adhya

Shankar Adhya arrested by ED officers on Saturday morning

Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Bongaon Municipality's former chairman Shankar Adhya in the early hours of Saturday in connection with the alleged ration scam in West Bengal, officials said.

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Adhya, a TMC leader in the North 24 Parganas district, was arrested from his residence in Simultola in Bongaon after searches were conducted by the agency at properties linked to him and his family members. These searches went on for at least 17 hours on Friday, they said.

Following the arrest, his supporters allegedly tried to block the investigators from taking him with them, besides hurling stones at their vehicles.

The CRPF personnel who were accompanying the ED team had to baton-charge the mob to bring the situation under control, they added.

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"Along with the searches, Adhya was also being questioned. He was arrested as his replies were not satisfactory," an ED officer said.

"After the arrest, his supporters, led by women, tried to stop the officers from taking him along with them. The accompanying CRPF personnel brought the situation under control," he said.

This was the second attack on the agency after the one in Sandeshkhali in neighbouring South 24 Parganas district on Friday. The ED said three of its officers suffered "grievous" injuries after a mob vandalised its vehicles during a raid at the residence of TMC leader Sahajahan Sheikh. The mob also snatched their personal belongings such as mobile phones and wallets.

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Adhya is considered to be close to state minister Jyotipriyo Mallick, who was arrested in connection with the alleged scam last year.

Along with properties belonging to the TMC leader, the ED had conducted searches at the residences of his in-laws, his associates and an ice cream factory linked to them.

Besides documents, the ED seized around Rs 8 lakh in cash from the residence of the in-laws, the officer said.

Soon after his arrest, Adhya told reporters, "I'll cooperate with the ED and will help them in every possible way."

He was brought to the ED office in Salt Lake in the early hours itself and will be produced at a court in Kolkata later in the day.

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