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Mamata old hand shot

Calcutta, Feb. 5: An architect and Trinamul Congress leader, Sachin Mukherjee, was shot dead tonight on the outskirts of the city.

The 65-year-old Mukherjee was the vice-president of the party and had contested the Assembly by-elections from Jadavpur in 1980 and 1982.

Mukherjee, a resident of Regent Park, was murdered while he was leaving his architecture firm on Kali Chatterjee Road in Sonarpur, 15 km from the city.

About to board a rickshaw at 9 pm, Mukherjee was shot point blank, police said. The assailants fired two bullets, one of them hitting Mukherjee’s chest and killing him.

The rickshaw-puller raised an alarm but his cries for help were drowned by an immersion procession passing through the area. Some people in the procession saw Mukherjee lying in a pool of blood and took him to Bangur hospital where he was declared brought dead.

As news spread, hundreds of Trinamul Congress supporters converged on the murder spot and blocked roads. Trinamul Congress leaders Mamata Banerjee and Pankaj Banerjee also reached there.

Mamata alleged that the CPM, in association with the police, killed Mukherjee to break the morale of Trinamul supporters in Sonarpur.

“I shall teach the CPM a lesson if the killers are not arrested within 24 hours. I know how to tackle the CPM goondas and their dalal police,’’ she said.

Tension ran high soon after Mamata left. Nearly 300 party workers stood on the road and raised slogans against the CPM and the police, prompting the administration to deploy the Rapid Action Force.

Denying Mamata’s allegation, the secretary of the CPM’s South 24-Parganas unit, Shantimoy Bhattacharya, said none of his party’s supporters is involved. “There is no politics in the incident. A matter related to land could be behind the murder. We have also told the police to arrest the culprits immediately,’’ Bhattacharya said.

District superintendent of police S.N. Gupta said the police are in the dark on the motive behind the murder. The police carried out raids at several places but no one had been arrested till late tonight.

Residents said Mukherjee had set up his architecture firm in Sonarpur about 10 years ago. He used to draw building plans and provide consultancy services.

Sonarpur is a Trinamul stronghold and it falls in Mamata’s parliamentary constituency.

During the seventies, Mukherjee was a prominent Congress leader in the Tollygunge-Regent Park-Jadavpur area. He joined Trinamul at its inception.

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