Kolkata: A 53-year-old Trinamool loyalist, Babu Sarkar, was murdered at Tangra on Friday, apparently as a fallout of a pitched battle that broke out between two alleged rival factions of the party in the neighbourhood three years ago over the control of the local party office, spoils from the KMC slaughterhouse in the area, and the burgeoning syndicate business.
The accused hacked the victim to death right in front of a policeman at a kiosk at the entry of China Town, after snatching his mobile away, apparently so that the cop could not click any photo. Sarkar was attacked multiple times for about three minutes and left to die on the road. Two of his associates, Mrinal Mukhopadyay and Bapi Dolui, managed to escape with lighter injuries.
With the murder exposing the extreme consequence of the constant conflict among different groups, ruling party heavyweights told the police to crack the case at the earliest. An accused, Joydeb Haldar, was arrested by Tangra police by Saturday but the main accused was yet to be picked up.
According to the TOI report Sarkar’s wife Chhaya said owing to his proximity to local Trinamool leader Alok Khatua, considered close to a local MLA, Sarkar became the in-charge of the China Town party office on Gobinda Khatick Road. This allegedly did not go down well with some locals, supporters of Pradip Guha, another Trinamool leader. “Around 5pm on Friday, my husband was surprised to get a call from an old rival, Bappa Ghosh alias Barka, who he feared could murder him. Barka told my husband he wanted to bury the hatchet and work together for the panchayat polls. After a long conversation, he left for the party office with Mrinal and Bapi. About an hour later, we heard my husband had been attacked. By the time we took him to NRS Hospital, he dead,” Chhaya claimed.
Mrinal told the police Barka and a Trinamool leader met Sarkar at the party office. “Six men attacked us with choppers. Bapi and I escaped with a few wounds, but Sarkar could not,” he said. As Sarkar ran out of the party office, the accused chased him to the road and hacked him to death. Chhaya alleged the murder took place at the best of Guha as her husband had refused to pay extortion money to local Trinamool leaders.
Guha, arrested earlier in a bombing case and was a suspect where a Trinamool man’s legs were chopped off.“We have no clue where he is,” said Guha’s sister.
With several high-rises coming up in the area, stakes are high for construction materials. The slaughterhouse on DC Dey Road, sources said, provided for a “side business”, worth lakhs of rupees. “Around 3,000 cows and buffaloes are slaughtered at the Tangra centre. The business of selling the remains of the animals fetches up to Rs 25 lakh a month,” the police said.