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Graft stink in BJP murder

Kalna (Burdwan), March 12: The murder of a BJP panchayat member here yesterday has lifted the veil off corruption in the Krishnadebpur gram panchayat run by the BJP-Trinamul Congress combine.

Harichand Mondol was shot dead in front of his house by party and panchayat colleagues Tapan Ghosal, Goutam Saha and Gourchand Majhi. Ghosal has been arrested, but the other two are absconding. Local Trinamul leader Sumanta Ghosh, who was present during the incident, was also held, police said.

The countrymade revolver used in the murder was recovered from a nearby shrub.

Sources close to Mondol said his “clean image” became his enemy. The killers targeted him as they failed to involve him in clandestine deals to siphon off development funds.

On Tuesday, the panchayat had met to distribute cards for an employment-generation scheme. After the meeting, the four went to Mondol’s house. A heated argument ensued and suddenly one of them drew out a gun and shot Mondol at point-blank range.

Saha and Majhi fled on a motorcycle while villagers in the area caught Ghosal and Ghosh. Mondol died on the spot.

“We were sitting close by when we heard the shot. We came running to see Tapan Ghosal running away. When we asked him what was happening, he said a tyre had burst. The villagers caught the duo and gave them a hiding. The others managed to escape,” said Radheshyam Mondol, a villager.

The local CPM has been alleging that there was tension among the panchayat members over illegal deals and that about Rs 1.3 lakh meant for development work were unaccounted for.

The local BJP is up in arms against the police, accusing the force of breaking down doors of houses and abusing women during raids throughout last night. Kalna police station officer-in-charge Mihir Dey refuted the charge, saying no one had complained of police high-handedness.

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