A Congress panchayat member was first detained and later arrested by police in North Dinajpur in connection with the murder of the chief of a Trinamul-run panchayat.
The police, however, are yet to find out the motive behind the murder. On Wednesday, Md Rahi, 59, chief of Panjipara panchayat of Goalpokhar block, was shot down by a gang of bike-borne criminals on NH27 near the panchayat office. The attackers were suspected to have fled towards neighbouring Bihar's Kishanganj town.
According to police sources, among the three persons detained were Md Mustafa, the Congress panchayat member who was with Rahi at the time of the attack. No bullet hit him. Late on Thursday evening, police officers said Mustafa had been arrested.
Ali Imraj Ramz, a block Congress leader, said his party did not have any role in the incident.
“Our panchayat member is an eyewitness. That is why the police are gathering information from him. The Congress doesn’t have any connection with the attack...,” he said.
Md Mumtaz, Rahi’s nephew who filed a complaint with the police, said there was a police checkpoint at Colony More, around 200 metres where Rahi was gunned down.
“But there were no cops at the checkpoint on Wednesday. Or else, the gunmen couldn’t have fled,” he said.
Since Thursday morning, Panjipara wore a deserted look. Though vehicles moved on NH27, most shops were shut. In the evening, Rahi’s mortal remains were brought to his home in Panjipara after post-mortem.
Golam Rabbani, the state environment minister and the local MLA, met Rahi’s bereaved family.
“We have no inkling why he was murdered," Rabbani said.