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‘Hitman’ spares ‘gentleman’ lawyer

- Unknown person calls up advocate and talks of abandoned plan for murder

Balurghat, Sept. 17: A hitman, who had been given Rs 10,000 and a gun to bump off an advocate in Kushmandi, backed off after finding out that the lawyer was a “gentleman and helpful to people”.

At least this is what lawyer Abu Taher Rahaman was told on his cellphone by the unidentified voice on the line on Saturday night.

Rahaman would have let this pass as a prank but the man purportedly tasked to kill him told the lawyer he had dumped a pistol and two cartridges — given for the murder — on the roadside near Nahit High School in Kushmandi, 70km from Balurghat.

Rahaman went to Kushmandi police and with them he found the single shotter and the cartridges at the exact spot mentioned by the voice. The caller also told the lawyer he had been given the contract by Rahaman’s neighbour Purano Mia.

“An unknown person rang me up on my cellphone at 8.15pm on Saturday and said he was a supari killer. He said he was from Sukhdebpur in Gangarampur and my neighbour had given him money to kill me. The caller said the contract had been settled for Rs 50,000 and he had been paid Rs 10,000 as an advance,” Rahaman said.

“When I asked the caller why he was telling me these things instead of killing me, he said he had decided not to kill me as I am a gentleman and helpful to people,” Rahaman said.

The lawyer’s tale is a bit like the film Faithful in which a hitman, who was supposed to kill a woman (played by Cher) — at the instruction of her husband — eventually bonds with her.

The hitman told Rahaman that he had done a recce of his locality on Saturday. “He (killer) said he came to know more about me at that time and ecided not to kill me. The caller said the contract had been given by my neighbour Purano Mia. He said if I don’t believe him, I should go to Nahit High School and would find a single shotter and two bullets hidden beside the road. He said the arms had been given to him by Mia,” the 48-year-old lawyer said.

Rahaman told inspector in charge of Kushmandi police station, Dilip Mahanta, about the matter. The police were also given the number from where the call had come.

“We reached the high school with the lawyer and found the pistol and the bullets in a plastic bag on the side of the road,” said a police officer associated with the probe.

Rahaman practises in the subdivisional court in Gangarampur and was a public prosecutor from 2007-2011. His wife, Shehnaz Begam, is a police constable at Kushmandi.

“It is unbelievable. At first, I thought someone was playing a prank on me. I can’t just believe a contract killer could spare a person in this way. I don’t have any enmity with anybody in my locality. I still don’t know why the killer took the name of Purano Mia,” Rahaman said.

The lawyer said criminals for or against whom he had argued cases might have a grudge against him. “Purano Mia’s son is currently in jail in a kidnap case. But I hadn’t appeared in court in connection with that case. So, there is no chance that he bears animosity towards me,” Rahaman said.

The lawyer’s neighbours vouched for his integrity and benevolence. ‘The advocate is a very nice person and he helps everybody in the locality. He doesn’t have any fight with anybody here. Even at night, he is available for any help,” said Rahaman’s neighbour Ratan Mandal.

The police today questioned Purano and are trying to track down the killer’s number.

“We are investigating the case. Nothing can be said now,” said Kushmandi Inspector-in-charge Mahanta.