45-year-old Ashim Das, a local TMC leader (Trinamool Congress) from Purba Bardhaman district’s Mangalkot was shot dead on Monday, July 12, this year. The ‘anchal’ (area) president of the TMC party, was chased by 2 bike-borne miscreants at around 6.30 PM, who then shot him from a close range, a senior police officer of the district informed PTI. Though the locals rushed Das to a nearby hospital, he was declared brought dead, said the official.
Local sources shared that Ashim Das was shot near the Siur bus stand while he was on his way to his home. The gunmen on the bike had called him twice as “dada”, and when das stopped and turned around, pumped their bullets in his body and fled the spot.
The reigning party and the opposition traded barbs at each other following the murder. The TMC had alleged that miscreants from the BJP camp were behind the murder of the local TMC leader. “Goons backed by the BJP are behind this. They killed Ashim Das, our Lakuria anchal president. They are trying to disturb peace in Mongolkote,” claimed Trinamool block president Apurba Mondal.
The BJP, on the other hand, was confident that the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC was infested with internal feuds and an infight had resulted in the killing. “We are not involved in this. Trinamool is trying to malign BJP,” said BJP leader Krishna Ghosh rubbishing the allegations by TMC. Allegedly, the victim’s family had also accused TMC of his death as Das was known to have protested the syndicate command, and instances of coal and cow smuggling.
The police informed that though no formal complaint was registered until late evening on the day of the incident, they had sent the body for autopsy and started the investigation. Superintendent of Police Kamnasish Sen visited the spot with a huge contingent of police.
In less than a week’s time, the police identified Sabul Sheikh and Samu Sheikh as suspects in connection with the killing of the TMC leader. Both are residents of the Kalyanpur and Kotalghosh areas, said the police.
They were first detained by the police and then arrested after a prolonged interrogation. The police have confirmed that they have noted several discrepancies in their statements. The accused were produced before the Katwa court on Thursday, July 16, and the police were granted their custody for seven days.
It must be highlighted that as per sources, both Sabul Sheikh and Samu Sheikh have links with the TMC. However, prima facie, the TMC leader in Purba Bardhaman was killed due to personal enmity added the source.
CID soon arrested the main culprit in the case, Rafiqul Sheikh. Rafiqul Sheikh was also present at the site of the murder and had fled the site, as per reports. He had been on the loose despite the two accomplices being in police custody. Finally, on August 4, the CID nabbed him. He was produced in court the next day and was kept in police custody for the next 14 days. Investigations are currently underway.
Though the exact reason for the murder has not been revealed, unconfirmed sources and social media speculations suggest that the TMC leader was killed by Muslim members of his own political party because the former was against the syndicate and coal and cattle smuggling in the state and was becoming a hindrance for the illegal activities carried out by the Sheikh trio.