The arrest of Md Mustafa, a Congress panchayat member in North Dinajpur, in connection with the murder of Trinamul panchayat chief Md Rahi, has led to animosity between district leaders of the two parties.
While Congress leaders alleged that the police were trying to shield the real culprits, Trinamul leaders claimed the police were probing in the right direction.
On Wednesday, Rahi, chief of the Trinamul-run Panjipara panchayat, was shot by some bike-borne criminals on NH27 near the local panchayat office. He later succumbed to bullet injuries.
Mustafa, who was with him, however, was not hit by any bullet.
After the incident, police detained him and a couple of others. He was interrogated and eventually arrested late on Thursday.
On Friday, he was produced at a court in Islampur. The court heard the case and ordered him 10 days in police custody.
Mustafa’s arrest has angered local Congress leaders.
“All of us want the culprits to be arrested. The police initially interrogated our panchayat member as he was an eyewitness but surprisingly later arrested him. We want to know if the police are investigating the case properly or trying to shield those behind the murder. As far as we know, the attack is the fallout of Trinamul’s internal rivalry,” said Ali Imran Ramz, a state secretary of Congress from the Goalpokhor block of the district.
Panjipara panchayat is located in the block.
On Friday, a delegation of Trinamul leaders met police officers and demanded the arrest of all involved in Rahi’s murder.
Kanaialal Agarwala, when asked about the remarks of the local Congress, said they had complete faith in the police.
“Rahi was an honest man and so some people had problems. We believe the police will crack the case soon. The Congress leaders should refrain from doing politics over the murder and let the police work,” he said.
Senior police officers who are probing the case said shooters were hired from Bihar. Kishanganj, a prominent town in Bihar, is only 10km from Panjipara.
After raining bullets on Rahi, the attackers sped towards Bihar, eyewitnesses had reported.
“We are scanning some CCTV footage. As preliminary investigation suggests that some shooters were hired from Bihar, we are searching for them in association with the Bihar police,” said Jaspreet Singh, the superintendent of police of Islampur police district.