A 35-year-old conductor of a long distance private bus was shot dead in the crowded vehicle at Barasat, near the office of the superintendent of police North 24-Parganas, late on Friday.
Four youths, who boarded the Islampur-bound bus from Esplanade, fired at the conductor from point-blank range. The miscreants managed to flee immediately after the incident. After an overnight search, police tracked down three of the culprits, including the mastermind.
After conducting preliminary investigations, police came to know of an illicit affair between the conductor’s wife and the mastermind. “It was a cold-blooded murder. We have brought the conductor’s wife to the Barasat police station and detained her for interrogation. She is also on the list of suspects,” said a police officer.
According to police, four youths — Munna, the mastermind, Rakesh, Raja and Akram — boarded the bus from the depot at Esplanade, pretending to be passengers. As the bus reached Barasat town, the four, all residents of Bally and Belur, asked the conductor, Pradip Guha, to stop the bus as they wanted to go to the toilet.
“An altercation broke out when Guha refused to stop the bus. During the argument, one of the youths took out a revolver and pulled the trigger. Guha slumped to the floor as the bullet pierced his chest,” said Basudeb Bag, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas.
Sensing trouble, all the four jumped off the bus. The passengers chased them. Local residents informed the police. “Policemen were deployed on all routes, including VIP Road, Jessore Road and Krishnanagar Road,” said Bag.
The area where the incident occurred was cordoned off. A large contingent, led by sub-divisional police officer Bhuban Mandal, started combing the area. Around 2 am, Munna was spotted on the highway and arrested. Two others, Rakesh and Raja, were dragged out from behind a tree. Another miscreant, Akram, managed to flee.
During interrogation, police came to know that Munna had an affair with Guha’s wife before her marriage. “When her family came to know of it seven years ago, they forced her to marry Guha. Even after the marriage, the two kept in touch. Munna used to meet her at her Chitpur residence in Guha’s absence,” said an official.
The situation took an ugly turn recently when Guha came to know of his wife’s relationship with Munna. A few days ago, Munna visited Guha’s house with a friend and chalked out a plan to kill Guha.
“On Friday, Munna was tipped off that Guha would go to Islampur. Accordingly, along with the other three, he boarded the bus. Guha had never met Munna, hence there was no chance of his identifying them. They had planned to drag him out of the bus. As the plan did not work, they fired at him in the bus itself,” said the officer.