The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 27 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mukhtar caught, Munna not


Mohammad Mukhtar, whose arrest the chief minister had allegedly sought in connection with a police officer’s murder in Garden Reach, was picked up on Tuesday though the Trinamul leader accused of the murder remains at large.

Lalbazar’s refusal to blame the Congress leader for the murder of sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury had reportedly cost top cop R.K. Pachnanda his job. Mukhtar had switched political allegiance from the CPM a few years ago and was locked in a tussle with the local Trinamul leadership for control of the port area.

Officers of the criminal investigation department (CID) said he was about to board a train at Howrah station for Bhagalpur in Bihar when plainclothes personnel intercepted him.

Trinamul Congress leader and CMC’s Borough XV chairman Mohammed Iqbal (Munna) — known to be close to urban development minister Firhad Hakim — who the police have linked to the trouble at Garden Reach on February 12, is still absconding.

Minutes after Chowdhury’s murder, Hakim accused Mukhtar of targeting Munna and accidentally killing the cop. However, the real killer was captured on camera and he turned out to be a Trinamul activist linked to Munna.

With Mukhtar on Tuesday was an associate identified as Mohammad Mushtaq. Although Mushtaq was not named in the FIR drawn up by Calcutta police, the CID said he had played a part in the trouble at Garden Reach.

Police had drawn up two FIRs — one for murder and the other for murder attempt. While Mukhtar was named in the second FIR, Munna was referred in the first as “Chairman Saab”. This is said to have triggered a flurry of “pressure calls” from the Trinamul leadership urging the police to drop any hint of Munna’s association with the murder.

“The Trinamul top leadership wanted Mukhtar to be rounded up and that has happened,” a top cop said on Tuesday night.

Mukhtar, who was accused of shooting at Mamata Banerjee in 1995, was arrested in 2010 after he allegedly went with a gun to Harimohan Ghose College, in front of which the officer was killed on February 12.