TWO DAYS after the husband of a Trinamool Congress councillor and his aide was shot dead in broad daylight at the party office in Kharagpur, police on Friday arrested seven persons for the incident. While the mastermind behind the attack is yet to be traced, police are looking for at least four contract killers who took part in the attack. Police said four among those arrested have been identified as Nando Das, Varun Ghosh, Rajesh Sahu and Shankar Rao — the person who organised and coordinated the whole operation from Shalimar in Howrah.
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Shankar was an old rival of A Srinivasan Naidu alias Srinu Naidu — a local strongman — who was on Wednesday shot dead along with his aide Dharma Rao. One motorcycle, a white SUV car used in the crime, five pistols, cartridges and Rs 50,000 in cash have been seized from the accused. “The motive behind the attack seems to be rivalry. Srinu Naidu had stopped his illegal works for the last one-and-a-half years. His rivals were not happy that he was becoming popular and turning into a promising youth leader. As his wife is a councillor, his fan following was increasing… His opponents were afraid that if Naidu survived, he might become a major leader. Thus, they got him killed… Shankar Rao was given the responsibility to coordinate the murder,” said Kharagpur SP Bharti Ghosh.
Asked if there was any political motive behind the murders, she added: “Definitely some people had sponsored them with the pistols and cars… Investigation is on.” Police said the first meeting held to give shape to the attack took place in Jharkhand on January 8. “Following this, two more meetings were held in Kharagpur. A second hand car, which was used in the attack, was bought a day before the murder by Nando,” said a police officer. “Shankar Rao had earlier also tried to kill Naidu. He stayed in Shalimar and planned the operation. He knew Nando Das, who was also not in good terms with Naidu,” he added.
Police said Nando had bought land with Naidu and was planning to do business with him. “But Naidu was not interested in working with him. From associates, they soon turned into enemies…,” said an officer. On Wednesday, police said, the accused came to know that Naidu had returned to Kharagpur from Kolkata. “He was being followed wherever he went… He finally arrived at the Trinamool office… Dharma Rao too came in… and they were killed,” he added.
Police said after Naidu was admitted to the hospital in Kharagpur, Nando arrived there to check whether he was indeed dead. “By then, police were already keeping a watch on him. He received three calls and was asked to confirm that Srinu was no more. Meanwhile, two of Nando’s associates, who had sustained injuries from a bomb explosion at the Trinamool office, contacted Varun Ghosh — an employee at a private nursing home in Kharagpur. He administered them first aid. After Nando’s arrest, they were also arrested,” said the officer.
“After interrogating Nando and Varun, Shankar Rao was arrested. He had taken the help of professional killers from Kharagpur and Jamshedpur to carry out the attack. We are looking for four other accused,” he added.