Monday, March 12, 2007

Woman took gun from her bag, shot Mahato: Police

MARCH 10:It was a woman who shot JMM MP Sunil Mahato, the police now say.

Mahato and three others, including his party’s local leader Prabhakar Mahato, were killed at a football match on March 4.

Jharkhand DGP J B Mahapatra told The Sunday Express that after the match, some women, suspectedly belonging to the CPI-Maoist, came and sat in front of the MP. “Minutes later, a woman got up and came to garland him. Right then, another woman took out a revolver from her bag and shot him,” Mahapatra said.

Mahapatra, who along with Jamshedpur SP Pankaj Darad, was supervising the case returned to Ranchi on Friday. Darad is still camping there.

Investigations so far have revealed how the Naxalites, with their effective local network, managed to lure the MP to stay back for the match.

Ten persons have been detained for interrogation. They include Bagudia’s ex-Mukhiya Sudhir Soren, Gram Pradhan Dashmat Soren and Sonaram Soren, president of the Jarpa Club which organized the match.

The police have learnt that Dashmat who had occupied the seat next to the JMM MP had left just before the woman opened fire. Four days before the incident, some Naxalites had visited Dashmat’s house and had dinner there, the police have learnt.

They spent the night at his house and left in the morning for the Dalma hill forest where they exchanged fire with a police party led by Darad. “After the encounter, we came back but the Naxalites appeared to have stayed back,” said Darad. Though the police have neither recovered the mobile phone of the slain MP nor acquired details of calls made from the phone of Prabhakar Mahato, investigators suspect Prabhakar, the JMM block president, too, was linked to the Naxalites. The JMM MP was slated to go to New Delhi the same evening but Prabhakar, probably under the pressure from the club’s officials and the Naxalites, repeatedly requested him to attend the match. “He went there at Prabhakar’s insistence. The Naxals killed Prabhakar to eliminate the witness,” said an investigating officer.

However, the investigators are not yet ruling out the involvement of rival mainstream politicians in the conspiracy. They felt insecure by Mahato’s increasing popularity and may be involved in the conspiracy, the officers say. “Some politicians are to be interrogated in this connection,” said IG A.K. Sinha.

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