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Beleghata bomb duo held in Delhi hotel

Raju Naskar and Ranabir Saha, both wanted for “hurling bombs and shooting in the air” during a clash between Trinamul factions on Beleghata Main Road last month, were arrested in a hotel at Pahargunj in Delhi on Thursday.

They are on their way to Calcutta on a three-day transit remand after being produced before a court in Delhi.

“Raju Naskar has eight cases against him… rioting, murder, attempt to murder and unauthorised construction. Ranabir Saha has two cases of rioting,” said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, the joint commissioner of police (crime).

They were accused of hurling bombs and shooting in the air on the evening of July 6 when two groups owing allegiance to two Trinamul leaders were engaged in a streetfight. At least 20 bombs had been hurled during the fight, sending motorists speeding for cover and forcing residents indoors.

Raju Naskar and Shankar Chakraborty allegedly led the two Trinamul factions.

Chakraborty is apparently backed by local MLA Paresh Pal, while Naskar allegedly enjoys the patronage of Jiban Saha, a councillor of the neighbouring ward. Trinamul sources said Saha has gained prominence with the support of a Trinamul MP.

Pal and Saha couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

Sources in the anti-rowdy section of the police said the duo were on the run until their arrest in Delhi. Chakraborty is still absconding.

The police have found that they took shelter at a hideout in North 24-Parganas after the July 6 incident and sneaked out of Bengal a couple of days later. Officers trailing the fugitives missed them by a whisker at Haridwar where the duo had stayed before travelling to Delhi.

“Accused persons from both sides are being arrested. Naskar and Saha led the attack by one side. Efforts are on to arrest Chakraborty alias Kanpuria, who is the prime accused from the other side,” said an officer.

The Beleghata violence exacerbated after Naskar and five of his aides allegedly attacked a Trinamul supporter of another faction, Tarun Sadhukhan. They allegedly threw bombs at him and hit him on the head with a revolver butt.

Sadhukhan had lodged a complaint against Naskar and his men with Beleghata police station.

He allegedly worked for Swapan Ghosh, whose shop is adjacent to a 25-cottah plot over which the two Trinamul factions were fighting.

Sources said Naskar in his early days was a “blacker” selling tickets and popcorn outside Alochhaya cinema in Beleghata. He used to live in a slum at Gandhi Nagar and was arrested for allegedly breaking rail wagons. He was once charged with attempt to murder after an associate was wounded in a brawl.

After a brief jail stint, Naskar started driving a taxi. Soon after, residents said, he became a CPM tough in the area. When Trinamul came to power, Saha allegedly handpicked him.

Sources said the syndicate business and Trinamul support saw Saha emerge as a leading developer in the area with six residential projects, including one at the site of Alochhaya cinema.