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Land whiff in trader murder

Asansol, Dec. 25: A prominent businessman in Asansol was killed last night by four men who followed him to the gate of his house on two motorcycles and pumped bullets into his mouth.

Police today said the fuse of four streetlights near the house of businessman Krishnendu Gorai, 58, had been pulled out, suggesting that the attackers wanted to keep the area dark.

According to the police, Gorai, who belonged to a family of businessmen and whose grandfather S.B. Gorai has a road named after him in Asansol, was locked in a dispute with a private agency that wanted to set up a shopping mall on a plot he owned in nearby Burnpur.

Gorai’s family denied any knowledge of the land dispute.

Gorai was returning home on his bike from one of his shops at the main market in Asansol when he was shot around 10.30pm.

Although the place where the incident took place usually stays busy at the time the murder took place, most people had chosen to stay indoors last night because of a sudden dip in the temperature, the police said.

“Four men on two motorcycles followed Gorai to the gate of his house and stopped him. One of them inserted the nozzle of his revolver into Gorai’s mouth and fired. As he slumped to the ground, they fled,” a police officer said.

Gorai’s relatives rushed to the roof of their three-storey house when they heard the gunfire. A few of them came down on seeing the businessman in a pool of blood and rushed him to a private hospital in Durgapur. He was declared dead on arrival.

The Gorais have been running businesses in Asansol for three generations. The family owns oil mills and shops selling furniture, sweets and garments.

The Asansol Chamber of Commerce today observed a 12-hour strike to protest the murder. Traders blocked GT Road for three hours.

“Apart from his varied business ventures, Krishnendu was known in Asansol for his polite behaviour and philanthropy. We will continue to protest until the police arrest the killers. The murderers have to be arrested in 72 hours,” said Sambhu Jha, the secretary of the Asansol Chamber of Commerce.

Asked about the murder, a police officer said a private construction firm had been “putting pressure” on Gorai to sell a Burnpur plot where it wanted to set up a mall. “But Gorai had refused to part with the plot,” the officer said.

Gorai’s 30-year-old son Pappu, who also looks after the family business, denied any knowledge of the land dispute. “My father did not have any enemies. I don’t know of any land dispute.”

The police said they had started investigations. “As of now, there is no significant development,” said Suresh Kumar, the additional deputy commissioner of police (central).

Asked if the land angle was being probed, Kumar said: “We are exploring all angles. We have information on this.”