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 firstname.lastname@example.org