Ramesh Bhodok, an accused in a couple of murder cases, was shot dead near his house on Benaras Road, in Liluah, on Thursday night.
Police said the 35-year-old was trying to return to the mainstream and was eking out a living by supplying building material to developers.
Around 11.45pm, Rameshs neighbours heard a few gunshots from Jalar Math. No one dared to find out what had happened. In the morning, the blood-soaked, bullet-ridden body of Ramesh, alias Dana, was found lying on the ground.
The police suspect Rameshs one-time rivals were behind the killing. Howrah police superintendent Niraj Kumar Singh said: We have got a few names of those who might have been involved in the murder. Raids are on to net them.
According to the sleuths, Ramesh cut his teeth on crime by extorting businessmen of Howrahs Belgachhia while he was still in his teens. He soon raised a gang of his own.
He was arrested on June 23 for his alleged involvement in the murder of Tarak Banerjee, 32, a resident of T Road, in Belgachhia. Tarak was shot dead by a gang on May 14.
But since his release on bail, he had been trying to steer clear of his friends in the crime world and started supplying building material to promoters for a living, said an officer. Ramesh decided to live a normal life, but his old rivals got him killed, rued mother Malini.
A number of shootings have taken place in the industrial belt of Howrah since January. Businessman Kisenlal Jain was shot dead in daylight by two motorcycle-borne men in Liluah on January 23.