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Ex-aide to Vedic goon shot dead

Calcutta, Feb. 6: An estranged associate of Gaffar Mollah, the central figure in the Vedic Village controversy that triggered a flare-up and blew the lid off murky real estate deals, was shot dead by three bike-borne assailants in North 24-Parganas today.

Abdul Hai alias Kelobabu, who ran a hooch den, had allegedly helped Gaffar with men and arms. Kelobabu, 38, was arrested soon after the Vedic Village controversy broke out but was out on bail. The bootlegger and Gaffar, who is still in jail, had apparently fallen out of late.

Around 6.30pm today, three men fired at Kelobabu at his country liquor den in Jhantia village. The goon was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

Kelobabu was facing criminal charges, including those related to murder and extortion.

Police said Gaffar had sought Kelobabu’s help when his men were outnumbered by protesters at a football match that Gaffar’s men lost. Gaffar’s gang had opened fire on the crowd, killing one and triggering a backlash.

CID officers said Kelobabu’s murder was possibly a fallout of the differences between him and Gaffar’s. “Kelobabu found Gaffar’s men were encroaching on his area and eating into his profits. He had begun resisting this. This could be a reason for his murder,” an officer said.

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