Main accused in Bengal's Vedic Village violence arrested | india | Hindustan Times
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Main accused in Bengal's Vedic Village violence arrested

india Updated: Sep 08, 2009 13:52 IST

The prime accused in last month's violent clash over a football match that saw one person being killed and the miscreants hiding in the Vedic Village resort near Kolkata was arrested on Tuesday morning.

Gaffar Mollah was arrested with five others from West Bengal's Bankura district, where he was hiding in his cousin's place.

He had been on the run since August 23, when a violent clash over a football match in the northeastern fringes of the city snowballed into a major controversy over forcible acquisition of land. The escalating debate rocked the state's political landscape forcing the state government to cancel two IT township projects involving giants Infosys and Wipro.

"Gaffar was arrested from Belabadhi village of Bankura district where he took shelter at his cousin's place. He was arrested with five associates," Bankura district police superintendent Vishal Garg told IANS.

Incensed over their team losing a football match at Rajarhat on the fringes of the city, Gaffar and his associates allegedly killed one person and then took shelter inside the Vedic Village - a spa and resort. Enraged locals then attacked and set parts of the resort afire.

The incident led to the revelation that the Vedic Village's holding company Vedic Realty - a real estate player - was involved in grabbing land forcibly in the area with the help of Gaffar and his group.

Questions were also raised about the role of two state ministers -- Land and Land Reforms Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah and Housing Minister Goutam Deb -- as well as Trinamool Congress legislator Arabul Islam in the illegal land transactions.

While Rezzak and Deb held separate media conferences bringing out divisions with the ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on the issue, the state government Monday scrapped proposed IT township projects involving Infosys and Wipro at Rajarhat.

The project had become controversial following allegations that land sharks - allegedly backed by developers Vedic Realty - had been involved in the acquisition of plots there.

Webel, the state-owned IT agency, has partnered with Vedic Realty to get land for the 1,600-acre IT project.

According to sources, Gaffar escaped the police dragnet and first went to north Bengal with a plan to sneak into Bangladesh after crossing the Cooch Behar border. He could not do so because the borders were sealed, and then moved to Bihar and Jharkhand.