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Cong leader dies in blast

Ranchi/Jamshedpur: A district Congress leader, who runs a stone crusher unit, was killed on Tuesday along with his bodyguard in a blast while travelling in an SUV with police claiming he was carrying explosives that may have gone off accidentally.

ADG (operations) and senior spokesman R.K. Mallick said the death of Congress's Koderma district president Shankar Yadav (50) could not be attributed to a landmine ambush. As per preliminary inquiries, he said, Shankar and his associates were carrying explosives in their SUV.

Koderma SP Shivani Tiwari said Shankar's bodyguard, Krishna, succumbed to his injuries at the district hospital, while driver Dharmendra had been admitted to RIMS in Ranchi.

Koderma SDPO Anil Shankar said that incident took place at 4.30pm at Chandwara, some 30km from the district headquarters, close to the Bihar border in the Chouparan area of Hazaribagh district.

"Police have reached the spot and begun investigations. Detailed reports are awaited," Mallick said.

A Koderma resident, who claimed he knew the district Congress chief well, said Shankar had several enemies, because of his business interests in the Chandwara area.

Sources said, and police have confirmed, that in November last year, Shankar was fired upon by two men on a bike in Chouparan while he was talking on the mobile. He sustained bullet injuries on his neck and waist and had to be admitted to Bhagwan Mahavir Medica hospital in Ranchi for weeks.

The state Congress has called a Koderma bandh on February 15 to protest the Shankar's death. "We suspect this was a political murder. It is a total failure of law and order. The chief minister, DGP and Koderma SP should resign owning moral responsibility," said state party chief Ajoy Kumar.

He told the media that a party delegation, led by senior leader Subodh Kant Sahay, would meet governor Droupadi Murmu on February 15 to demand the arrest of the culprits behind Tuesday's attack.

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