A court here on Wednesday sentenced eight persons to life imprisonment for murdering alleged coal mafioso Sheikh Amin in West Burdwan district in 2016.
The judgement was pronounced by the additional district and session court. On Tuesday, the additional district judge (2), Priyabrata Dutta, had found the eight guilty.
The eight are Sheikh Saniul alias Sanai, Sheikh Shakibul, Sheikh Kashem, Sheikh Nurul Hoda, Sheikh Jahangir, Sheikh Janiyul, Babar Ali and Sheikh Shahjahan.
However, three persons — Partha Chatterjee, Lokesh Singh and Sheikh Saiful — were acquitted in the case for lack of evidence.
A large group of relatives and neighbours of the convicted persons had gathered at the court compound in the town to hear the verdict. To thwart any possible disturbance, a large police contingent, including RAF, was also deployed in the area.
After the verdict was delivered, the angry relatives and neighbours of the convicts gheraoed government pleader Debabrata Sain when he was coming out of the court building. They also sat on dharna in front of the lawyer and accused him of indulging in malpractices during the trial.
The police rescued Sain and escorted him to his car. The protesters again demonstrated in front of the old court building where the Lawyers’ Bar is located. The police later dispersed the agitators.
Condemning the protest against Sain, all government lawyers in Durgapur announced indefinite cease-work from Thursday. They accused the police of negligence in providing security to Sain, who is also a leader of the Trinamul Congress’ law cell and a former councillor.
Sain said the allegations against him were baseless. “I am happy to ensure punishment to the murderers,” he said.
Amin had been shot dead at Kailashpur under the jurisdiction of Laodoha police station when he had come out of a mosque after prayers on September 13, 2016.
One of Amin’s associates Sheikh Majahar was also hit by bullets. Altogether 16 shots were fired at Amin who died instantly. Majahar was admitted to a hospital where he died four days later.
Sources said the murder was the fallout of a rivalry between two groups over taking control of coal smuggling in the area.
Amin was accused of murdering 21 persons, including his former “boss” Sheikh Selim, since 2012. When Amin was killed, he was out on bail in a murder case.
Selim had been murdered in front of his house in 2012 allegedly by Amin and his followers. Since then, frequent clashes took place between the two groups and a series of murders triggered panic at villages in Laodoha till Amin fully took control of the coal smuggling.