In a major embarrassment for the CBI, the prime accused behind the massacre at Bogtui village in West Bengal's Birbhum district on March 21 this year, died in CBI custody on Monday evening at the central agency's camp at Rampurhat in the same district.
Nine persons were killed in the carnage.
Lalan Sheikh was arrested on late December 3 this year by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths after over an eight-month hunt. Sources said that his body was being sent from the CBI camp to Rampurhat sub-divisional hospital. However, the reasons for his death are yet to be known.
The Bogtui massacre is perceived as a revenge killing over the murder of local Trinamool Congress leader, Vadu Sheikh in the same evening.
Lalan Sheikh was the right-hand man of Vadu Sheikh and soon after the latter's murder, he assembled his associates and launched a late-night attack on the Bogtui village with bombs and inflammable items.
He was absconding since then and the CBI sleuths had been conducting marathon searches to track him since the central agency took up the parallel investigation into both Vadu Sheikh's murder as well as the Bogtui carnage, as per an order of the Calcutta High Court. The court had observed that the two events were inter-linked.
Now confusion has started on who will be conducting the mysterious death of Lalan Sheikh. Will the probe be conducted by the CBI only or will the district police concerned will take over the investigation? This question that is floating around in the political circles.
Already political mud-slinging started over the death of Lalan Sheikh in CBI custody.
"The death of the principal accused in the case in CBI custody is really a serious matter. This happens when the central agencies like the CBI operate as per instructions of the BJP. Now it has to be seen whether Lalan Sheikh was killed as instructed by BJP," said Trinamool state General Secretary and party spokesman, Kunal Ghosh.
Senior state BJP leader and former national Secretary, Rahul Sinha said the matter is really serious and proper investigation in the matter should be conducted by an independent agency.
Youth CPI-M leader Koustav Chatterjee said that the prime line of any fresh investigation in the matter should be identify who would be the principal beneficiary behind the mysterious death of Lalan Sheikh.
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