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'Personal' link in murder mystery
- KLO gunmen might have been hired for the crime

Malda, Jan. 24: A personal vendetta might have been responsible for Shekhar Sinha's murder.

Sinha, an engineer with the Cooch Behar zilla parishad, was shot dead inside a club at Pakua, 50 km from here, on Sunday night.

Police today claimed that someone was out to settle a personal, not political, score by killing the DYFI leader at point blank range. The shots, they said, were fired both from outside as well as inside the room.

Though no one has been arrested even after 48 hours of the crime, the police have detained two persons ' Samir Roy and Gopal Bhagat ' for interrogation. Roy and Bhagat were both close to Sinha and were involved in land deals.

Samir was present in the room when Sinha was shot. He has come under police scanner, because he escaped unhurt while two others present there sustained injuries from the bullet shot. Besides, according to police reports, it was Samir's brother-in-law, Moloy Mondol, who had gone over to Shekhar's house and called him over to the club. Samir, however, claimed that he had taken cover under the charpoy, after he heard the sound of gunfire.

Moloy is currently undergoing treatment at the district hospital here after being hurt in the hand by the bullet that exited through Sinha's forehead.

Investigating officers maintained that contrary to claims made by those in the room that assailants had fired at Sinha from outside the window, some bullets had come from inside the room.

'The post-mortem conducted clearly reveals that five shots were fired and Sinha died from those fired from the rear as well as from the front,' an investigating officer said. He said the murdered man was the only target that night.

Police superintendent Dilip Mondol said: 'We have not yet got a clear picture. The post-mortem report states that Sinha was shot through the back of his head. But another bullet had entered his left shoulder and it is from a 9-mm pistol. The services of the KLO was probably employed.'

However, a police source said people close to the DYFI leader were behind the crime. It was they who had hired a gunman to eliminate Sinha. 'There will be more breakthroughs if Samir and Moloy are properly interrogated. Both have close links to KPP leaders in the Bamungola area,' he added.

A team from the Bamungola police station has been sent to Kumarganj in South Dinajpur where the KPP and the KLO have strong bases. The police are hoping to pick up more leads from there, the source said.

Police said Shekhar led a 'clean life' and had set up Sympathetic Club, where he was killed. 'The victim was vocal against the KPP in the area and he had told them not to use the club for their political purposes. He had also written to the traders and shopowners, asking them not to bow to KLO extortion bids,' said an officer of the Bamungola police station.

CPM district secretary Jiban Maitra said the police have been told not to keep any stone unturned. 'We want a thorough investigation. The persons behind this act should not go free, even if they have connections to our party,' he said.

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