JMM leader Mathura Prasad Mahto (left) at Seraidhela police station after the murder on Monday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad, Nov. 28: Senior JMM leader Akshay Lal Chauhan was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his house in Bhatmurna under Katras police station area today morning.
JMM leaders, including land reforms and revenue minister Mathura Prasad Mahto, who rushed to Chauhanís house on learning of his death, held the coal mafia responsible for the killing and demanded a probe into the incident.
Chauhan, a central committee member of the party who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections from Baghmara, was reading the newspaper in front of his house around 6am, when he was attacked.
According to eyewitnesses, three youths rode up to the house on a motorcycle, and one of them disembarked to shoot Chauhan, who collapsed on the spot. The youth then attacked one Vinod Kumar, a butcher who has a shop in front of Chauhanís house, but he escaped unhurt. The trio then escaped towards Bahrakudar before anybody could react. Locals and family members rushed Chauhan to Central Hospital in Dhanbad where he was declared brought dead. He had taken two bullets in his abdomen.
Baghmara MLA Dhullu Mahto was among those who visited Chauhanís family after the incident.
Speaking to The Telegraph, land revenue minister Mahto said he would approach the chief minister to order a probe into the killing, adding that the coal mafia was responsible for the murder.
Dhanbad district president of JMM Ramesh Tuddu also said that Chauhan had recently protested against the illegal activities of the coal mafia for which he paid with his life.
ďChauhan became the victim of a conspiracy that can be revealed by a CBI inquiry,Ē Tuddu said.
A large number of policemen from Katras, Loyabad and Jogta led by deputy superintendent of police (law and order) Sanjay Ranjan Singh visited Chauhanís house and launched a manhunt to arrest the criminals. The police have sealed the borders of the district.
The DSP said investigations have already been launched and the people responsible would be arrested soon.
The body was sent to Patliputra Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem.