The state Criminal investigation Department (CID) on Thursday arrested a sharpshooter in connection with the murder of BJP leader Manish Shukla. The accused was identified as Subodh Yadav.
On Wednesday, sources in the CID said two more people had been arrested. But, on Thursday, the department said with the latest arrest three people were in its custody. The first two arrested are Mohammad Khurram and Gulab Sheikh. They were taken into custody on Tuesday.
According to sources, so far many suspects have been detained and interrogated. They claimed on Thursday that the investigators would soon solve the case.
Shukla, a local leader in Titagarh in North 24 Parganas district, was gunned down on Sunday night while he was chatting with some party workers at a tea stall. An eyewitness told reporters, “Assailants in three motorbikes appeared and opened fire. He fell to the ground immediately.”
The primary autopsy revealed that seven bullets hit Shukla in the face and chest. The bullets, all fired from a 7mm firearm, were found lodged in his body, However, BJP MP Arjun Singh, whose footsteps Shukla had followed to join the BJP in 2019, disputed the preliminary post-mortem. He claimed that Shukla was gunned down using 9mm carbine guns.
Following the murder, the BJP accused the Trinamool of orchestrating the attack. On Monday, the saffron party called a 12-hour Barrackpore bandh.
In an FIR filed on the basis of a complaint by Shukla’s father, the police named seven people, including Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Prashanta Chowdhury and Uttam Das. While Chowdhury is an administrator of Titagarh municipality, Das is an administrator of Barrackpore municipality.
Arjun Singh has alleged that Khurram had links with TMC leaders such as Nirmal Ghosh, Madan Mitra, Dinesh Trivedi, Bratya Basu and Firhad Hakim. According to the police, Shukla’s name figures in 16 criminal cases, including cases of murder and attempted murder. Several of these were pending. A few years ago, his name had cropped up when Khurram’s father was killed.
The TMC, however, has rubbished these allegations and claimed that the killing was a fallout between factions within the BJP state unit.
Earlier this week, Firhad Hakim pointed out that both Shukla and Arjun Singh were travelling in the same car before Sunday night’s attack. He asked why the MP “abandoned” his aide “all of a sudden” after receiving a call from national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
On Thursday evening, Bhartiya Janta Party Yuva Morcha President and Lok Sabha MP Tejasvi Surya visited Shukla’s family in Khardah. Surya and the other party leaders who accompanied him assured the family that the BJP would fight till the to get them justice.
Meanwhile, a PIL petition has been filed in the Calcutta High Court, seeking to transfer the investigation of Manish Shukla’s murder to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to ensure a fair and free inquiry.
“The petition will be moved before the bench of the Chief Justice early next week,” said Priyanka Tibrewal, the petitioner.
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