Konnagar (Hooghly), May 9: A Trinamul Congress leader was arrested today for his alleged involvement in last night’s murder of Manas Roy Chowdhury, a Congress councillor of the municipality here.
Roy Chowdhury’s aide Kazi Akhtar Rahaman, who was injured in the attack, is now at the Uttarpara State General Hospital. Roy Chowdhury and Rahaman were returning from a campaign meeting for the panchayat poll on a motorcycle when they were attacked near Konnagar station.
Police said Rahaman told them Trinamul leader and former chairman of the municipality Swapan Das engineered the murder. A team led by the sub-divisional police officer of Serampore picked up Das from his house early this morning.
Roy Chowdhury, 42, had replaced Das as chairman after the civic board passed a no-confidence motion. Four Trinamul councillors switched sides in the 19-member board to give a majority to Roy Chowdhury. Das was left with seven members on his side.
“Stung by humiliation, Das could be looking for revenge. We are investigating all possibilities and nothing can be said at this stage,” said Hooghly superintendent of police Ajoy Kumar. He added that the murder could also be the fallout of a gang rivalry. Roy Chowdhury had several cases against him.
The district Congress called a bandh today to protest the “heinous murder” of a “veteran leader”. The town wore a deserted look with shops and business establishments closed. Buses and auto-rickshaws were off the roads.
Former state Congress chief Somen Mitra and party vice-president Pradip Bhattacharya came here this morning to condole the death.
With barely 48 hours to go for the panchayat election, the incident sent shockwaves through the administration. The absence of buses and other vehicles hampered preparations for the poll.
The police said a gang of five youths hurled bombs at the two-wheeler on which Roy Chowdhury was riding pillion. He was returning from Sastrinagar after addressing a panchayat rally when the vehicle was intercepted.
Roy Chowdhury and Rahaman fell as the motorcycle rammed into a wall. The two were then hit with choppers. Even as they tried to flee, braving injury, their throats were slit.
Roy Chowdhury died on the spot but Rahaman managed to get on to a local train and got himself admitted to the hospital.
District Trinamul chief and local MP Akbar Ali Khondakar alleged: “CPM supporters have murdered Roy Chowdhury with full support from the police.”