Trinamool leader's murder bares party's violent factional feuds

Kolkata, Aug 17 (IANS) The murder of a Trinamool Congress leader followed by his son's sensational allegation about the involvement of two other party leaders in the conspiracy has brought into the open the blood-spewing feuds within West Bengal's ruling outfit.

Trinamool's Birbhum district vice-president Ashok Ghosh was chased and fatally shot by two motor-cycle borne gunmen last Monday at Khairashol of Birbhum when he was returning home from the school where he was employed.

Protests erupted a day after as Ghosh's loyalists – comprising a Trinamool faction - staged an angry demonstration when Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee visited the deceased's home at Khairashol to console his family members.

The Trinamool workers' ire was directed at the presence of Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal in the minister's entourage.

Ghosh's son Biswajit, who led the protests, claimed Mondal and his group had hatched the conspiracy to liquidate his father who was opposing the coal mafia. He alleged that Khaiashol block president Ashok Mukherjee had been tasked with implementing the plan.

"My father told me 15-20 days back that the mindset with which he had joined the Trinamool was not to the liking of some of the leaders. He said he was not sure how long he will live. He appeared crestfallen," the bereaved son said.

"He told me that Mondal had hired people to finish him off. My father had been protesting against illegal coal mining in the area," Biswajit said.

He alleged that Mondal's aide Mukherjee was cut up with his father, who switched over to the Trinamool from the Congress some time back but was becoming increasingly popular.

"Ashoke Mukherjee's ground was slipping. So may be he thought this is the only way he could regain lost ground. And he played his role in my father's murder," said Biswajit.

His version contradicted Mondal's claim that the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Maoists were behind Ghosh's killing.

On Wednesday, the victim's family filed a police complaint naming 12 people. Mukherjee and some other Trinamool workers' names figured in the list, but Mondal's did not.

Biswajit said he had kept Mondal's name out of the FIR following an assurance from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that justice will be done.

"I got this assurance through Swapan Ghosh (legislator from Suri in Birbhum district). But I will write to didi (elder sister, as Banerjee is called) mentioning Mondal's name. I have full faith in Ghosh and shall do whatever he asks me to," said Biswajit.

On Friday, however, Biswajit seemed to be backtracking. "I had said lot of things as I got too emotional," he said.

Mondal, on his part, denied his involvement ""The victim's family was forced to speak against me. The murder is the handiwork of the CPI-M, Maoists and the coal mafia. Ashok Mukherjee is not involved."

The Trinamool leadership has stood by Mondal. "None of our leaders are involved. The coal mafia or the Maoists may be behind the murder", a party leader said.

But the opposition attacked the Trinamool.

"The way they are running the state it is if the Trinamool leaders are above all laws. Not only political opponents, they are now attacking even rival groups in the party. The groups which are comparatively weaker are at the receiving end," said Congress leader and union minister Adhir Chowdhury.

Meanwhile, police have so far arrested four people – including the two miscreants who allegedly shot Ghosh. A police officer said the duo were professional killers hired for the murder.

"The duo was given Rs.3 lakh to kill Ashok Ghosh," said a police officer, who claimed the murder was the outcome of a battle over profit-sharing from the supply of coal to mining companies.

But Mukherjee is yet to be nabbed. He has seemingly gone underground.

Sirshendu Panth can be contacted at s.panth@ians.in

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »