Former CPI-M MP booked in Bengal murder case, party threatens stir

Kolkata, June 27 (IANS) CPI-M leader and former MP Sujan Chakraborty was Thursday booked for the murder of a ruling Trinamool Congress candidate for the upcoming West Bengal panchayat polls, police said. Chakraborty claimed innocence, while his party threatened to launch an agitation if its leader was arrested without any "proper investigation".

Shibram Naskar, a Trinamool candidate for the Baruipur panchayat samiti in South 24 Parganas district, was killed Wednesday when he was returning home after campaigning, police said.

While one person has been arrested, cases have been started against five others, including Chakraborty, following a complaint filed by the victim's kin.

Police superintendent Pravin Tripathi told IANS: "They alleged that Chakraborty had conspired. So we have started a case against him."

Naskar, who had several injuries on his head and neck, died while being taken to a city hospital, police said.

Chakraborty, who was an MP 2004-09, is a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretariat and secretary of the party's South 24 Parganas district committee.

Kolkata Mayor and Trinamool's district observer Sovan Chatterjee accused Chakraborty of being involved in the murder.

"Naskar was killed when he was returning after campaigning. There is a deep conspiracy behind this. The possibility of Sujan Chakraborty's direct or indirect involvement cannot be ruled out," said Chatterjee.

Chakraborty, on his part, termed the case against him as part of the "bigger conspiracy" hatched by the Trinamool Congress government to frame CPI-M leaders in false cases.

"They have targeted our leaders Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Gautam Deb, Surjya Kanta Mishra. Now it seems my name is also there," he said.

Describing the murder as the result of the Trinamool's factional feud, Chakraborty said: "Let them arrest me. There is a law of the land."

In a media meet Thursday night, CPI-M state secretariat member Deb charged the Trinamool Congress government with "carrying out a political vendetta" and alleged that police were "forced" to lodge an FIR against Chakraborty following "a phone call from the Writers' Buildings (state secretariat)".

"This is dirty politics. If Sujan is arrested without proper investigation, we will hit the streets in thousands. There will be agitations in Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas. There will be sit-in demonstrations, shutdowns. Roads, airport, railway stations will be affected," Deb said.

CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose said a "false case" has been slapped against Chakraborty.

"They are lodging false cases against our leaders. Criminal cases are being slapped against victims of attacks, while the attackers are roaming free".

On the other hand, state Industries Minister and Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said: "Probe is on. More heavyweight leaders than Sujan may be involved. Now they (read CPI-M) are trying to hush up the matter by concocting stories".