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Raiganj youth held for court firing

Raiganj, Dec. 21: An unemployed youth has been arrested in the case of yesterday’s court shooting in Raiganj targeting a woman accused of murder.

Jitu Sharma, 28, is also an accused in the same murder case as Papiya Sarkar, who was believed to be the intended target of the shooting.

Jitu was arrested from his home in Raiganj town late last night.

Papiya, her husband Chanchal Sarkar, Jitu and four others are accused in the killing of Biswajay Ghosh, a photographer with a local cable channel who was murdered on November 27, 2009.

Papiya and Chanchal were arrested by the CID on March 2, 2010, and the woman had been summoned to the court yesterday to be chargesheeted.

According to police sources, preliminary investigations suggested that Papiya and Jitu were talking to each other just before she was shot at.

However, the account Papiya gave yesterday while lying in hospital did not reflect that. She said around 2pm when she entered the Raiganj district court through the south gate, she found three people standing nearby. As she crossed them she heard a sharp sound and turned. She said she saw a youth with a gun.

A police officer probing the case today said: “We have found that just before the shooting, the woman had a conversation with Jitu and another youth. We believe that the entire episode was set up (to divert attention from the case). We have information that after the shooting, Papiya, who fell in a drain while trying to flee the spot, was also helped up by Jitu.”

Yesterday, the woman had said she heard a second shot, too. The police, though, have found only one 9mm empty cartridge.

Papiya did not suffer any bullet injury but hurt her right knee when she fell into a drain. She was taken to the Raiganj district hospital and discharged last night.

The acting inspector in charge of Raiganj police station, Dinesh Pramanik, said: “We arrested him (Jitu) last night. He was produced in court today and remanded in police custody for four days.”

Papiya’s lawyer husband Chanchal Sarkar, a resident of Raiganj town, said he and his wife had been falsely implicated in the murder case and Jitu was not involved in the shooting.

Chanchal, who is himself one of the accused in Ghosh’s murder, said: “Yesterday, we (he, Papiya and Jitu) were supposed to appear in court and Jitu was standing near me. My wife had come there around 2pm when the shooting took place. Jitu was not involved in the incident in any way. By arresting him, the police are trying to falsely implicate us. There is a deep conspiracy behind the police's claim.”

Four alleged local anti-socials, Biplab Chhetri, Babon Das, Biplab Roy and Mahadeb Das, are also accused in the killing of Ghosh.