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Bullets rip Buddha yard
- Three shots, two wounded in Holi night clash

As the city slept after a day of Holi revelry, the quiet in the chief minister's neighbourhood was shattered by gunfire, the police revealed on Friday.

Close to midnight on Tuesday, trouble erupted at 70, Bondel Road, barely 250 metres from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's high-security residence at 59, Palm Avenue.

Three bullets were fired, leaving two persons injured in a clash between local groups. It took a police patrol team half an hour to arrive at the trouble spot so close to the chief minister's residence.

The latest in a list of law-and-order lapses near the chief minister's residence had been kept under wraps for 48 hours.

Confirming the incident, N.R. Babu, deputy commissioner of police (south division), told Metro: 'The shootout took place around midnight on Holi. Two persons sustained bullet injuries and one of them is undergoing treatment at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan.' The other has not been traced yet.

The gunfire on Holi has sparked another security scurry in the area, notorious for its law-and-order problems. Just four days ago, members from rival groups owing allegiance to the CPM and Trinamul Congress had clashed over possession of a vacant plot, off Palm Avenue.

Deputy commissioner Babu said security arrangements have been intensified in the locality and a police picket has been posted.

'Raids are being conducted to trace those involved in the shootout. We have rounded up several criminals and are trying to extract information about the organised crime network in the Palm Avenue belt,' he added.

Police said that late on Tuesday, members from two local groups, both engaged in property matters, were drinking on the pavement in front of 70, Bondel Road. An altercation soon led to a scuffle and then the shots were fired.

Investigation revealed that both groups exchanged fire, leaving Satikh Bhattacharya, 17, and Salim, 26, injured.

Satikh sustained bullet injuries on his left hand and is being treated at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, while a bullet hit Salim on his right leg. He is still at large.

'We are looking for Salim and Partho Ghosh, alias Budho. Partho is a resident of Picnic Garden, while Salim lives in Ballygunge Second Lane. Salim is allegedly backed by Trinamul. We have interrogated Satikh and he said Partho and Salim had fired at him,' said a police officer.

Both groups are in the realty business and an old rivalry may have triggered off the shootout.

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