Suri, July 28: A sub-inspector hit by a bomb while trying to quell an alleged Trinamul mob in Birbhum last month died in hospital this morning, prompting police to bring murder charges against a local ruling party leader.
But the police said Sheikh Alim was “absconding” — just as he has apparently been these 55 days since the attack on officer Amit Chakraborty, though local Trinamul sources confirmed he regularly visited his panchayat office.
Alim, president of the Trinamul committee in Yashpur gram panchayat and a member of Dubrajpur panchayat samiti, is a known loyalist of Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal.
Police sources said Chakraborty’s “planned” murder could be a result of Anubrata’s public instruction to party workers last year to hurl bombs at cops who came to the aid of Independent candidates.
Chakraborty, 37, had rushed to Aulia village in Dubrajpur on June 3 night to resist an attack on a local CPM leader’s home and was hit in the abdomen by a bomb after being threatened by Trinamul activists.
This is the second time in less than a year and a half that a Trinamul leader has been accused of a role in an on-duty police officer’s death.
In February last year, Calcutta sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury was shot dead while on duty in front of Harimohan Ghosh College in Garden Reach as a clash broke out during the filing of nominations for campus elections.
The CID has filed charges naming Mohammad Iqbal, Trinamul councillor and borough chairman, as the mastermind behind Chowdhury’s murder.
In Birbhum, Alim was named in the initial attempt-to-murder FIR with 46 others but was never arrested. Marxist sources said only 17 people had been arrested in June and 12 of them were CPM workers.
“The police tagged the names of our workers to maintain a balance in its FIR. Alim regularly attended the panchayat samiti office after that but the police did not arrest him for obvious reasons,” said district CPM secretary Dilip Ganguly.
Today, the police started a murder case against the 47 accused.
“We have started a murder case after learning about the sub-inspector’s death. The accused are absconding,” district superintendent of police Alok Rajoria told The Telegraph.
Police sources said the attack on the officer appeared to have been a planned one.
“The Trinamul men told him he would be killed if he didn’t leave the place. Within a few minutes of their threat, a bomb slammed directly into his abdomen,” a cop said.
Anubrata did not take calls today. One of the repeated calls to him was answered by a person who said Anubrata was in a meeting.
State fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha, an MLA from Birbhum, said: “Trinamul as a party has no connection with the June 3 incident. Workers of both Trinamul and CPM are accused but a section of the media is blaming only Trinamul.”
On June 3 evening, Trinamul and CPM workers had clashed with bombs in Aulia village over hiring for a pond-digging project under the rural job guarantee scheme.
“Chakraborty led a police team to the village at night. Trinamul workers led by Alim had surrounded the home of CPM local committee secretary Moqtul Hossain,” said a constable at Dubrajpur police station who had accompanied him.
“Revolver in hand, Chakraborty stood in front of the house with half-a-dozen constables, trying to shoo away the Trinamul raiders. When he ignored the mob’s warnings to leave, someone hurled a bomb that hit him in the stomach.”
Chakraborty, a bachelor who was orphaned at 3, passed away at a private hospital in Durgapur after a long battle with death.
His body was brought this evening to the Suri police line where a gun salute was given to him. He was cremated at the Bakreswar crematorium in Birbhum.