Calcutta, Dec. 4: A man pumped a bullet into the abdomen of another and slipped away under the noses of armed policemen guarding chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's Palm Avenue residence.
Forty-five-year-old Firoz Khan alias Dhona is struggling for his life in hospital.
Police said the incident occurred around 2 pm. Firoz was walking down Palm Avenue when Sheikh Anwar alias Mona intercepted him, barely 500 ft from Bhattacharjee's house that has a ring of one-and-a-half dozen policemen protecting it.
'An altercation broke out. Suddenly, Anwar took out a revolver and fired at Firoz from close quarters. Before the policemen realised what had happened, he fled,' said an officer of Karaya police station.
By the time the policemen reacted, Firoz was lying in a pool of blood with a bullet-wound in his abdomen and Anwar was missing.
As news of the attack reached the Lalbazar police headquarters, senior officers, including deputy commissioner (south) Anuj Sharma and deputy commissioner (detective department) Peeyush Pandey, rushed to the spot. They spent the entire afternoon there and held meetings to find the loopholes in the security arrangement outside Bhattacharjee's house.
Firoz was rushed to National Medical College and Hospital. 'He is unconscious. We are trying our level best but nothing can be said before 48 hours,' a doctor said.
The police have found that both Firoz and Anwar had criminal antecedents and the attack was a sequel to a long-standing rivalry. 'Firoz used to be an extortionist a few years ago. He recently started the business of supplying building materials to real estate dealers in the Karaya, Beniapukur and Topsia area,' Anuj Sharma said.
A tussle between Firoz and Anwar started when the 22-year-old also stepped into the same trade last year.
The two came into conflict when both wanted to supply material to the same promoter. 'Apparently, Firoz managed to get the order and Anwar was not happy,' said a detective department officer who visited the spot. A few days ago, Anwar threatened Firoz not to supply material to the promoter.
'Firoz was obviously not willing to comply. Anwar then decided to teach him a lesson and came to Palm Avenue prepared to shoot Firoz. The attack was premeditated,' said an officer of the police station.
Senior officers, including Sharma and Pandey, held a meeting with all the officers at Karaya police station.
'A massive hunt is on to track down Anwar. We have some specific leads that can't be disclosed at the moment,' said Sharma.