In a deliberate daylight attack, a leading promoter in the Dum Dum area, also secretary of a CPM-backed local market committee, was gunned down on Thursday in front of a construction site on Jessore Road. The assassins shot Babul Das, 45, in the neck from point-bank range, killing him on the spot.
Preliminary investigation by the local police suggested that extortionists masterminded Das’ murder following his refusal to meet their demands. A few days ago, some local goons had approached Das for money, but were shooed away.
The assailants picked their spot and their moment on Thursday. Around 1 pm, Das was busy supervising the construction of a highrise in Motilal Colony, near Dum Dum airport’s gate no. 2. He had come there from another site nearby.
Sudip Roy, officer-in-charge of Dum Dum police station, said Das was talking to his labourers, standing on the first floor, when he heard someone call out to him from below. “As soon as he reached the ground floor, the assassins fired at him and fled,” said Roy.
On hearing the gunshot, the labourers came rushing down and found Das lying, bleeding profusely from a neck wound. “By then, the killers had sped away. None of the workers saw anyone fleeing,” said Roy. Das was rushed to a nearby healthcare centre, where doctors declared him dead.
Local residents later told police that two youths had come to Das’ construction site on a bicycle a while before the attack. “No one could identify the two men in their twenties, who were also seen leaving the spot, heading towards the VIP Road-Jessore Road intersection,” said an official of Dum Dum police station. “The two could have been professionals hired by the real culprits to pull the trigger,” he added.
Das had made his mark as a promoter and had recently bagged three big construction projects in the area. A resident of the area told the cops that four local goons had cornered Das at the same construction site a few days ago. Das brushed off their demands for money, but they left warning him of dire consequences, he added.
Police carried out extensive raids throughout Thursday and detained a number of persons. “We are questioning them and cross-checking their statements. No one has been arrested so far,” said officer-in-charge Roy.
Though the theory of avenging extortionists gained ground with the probe, police made it clear that they were looking at other angles as well. “It must also be verified whether any real-estate rivalry triggered the killing,” said Roy.