While the slain Diamond Harbour youth’s kin alleged his hand in the murder, prime accused Trinamool strongman Tapas Mullick claimed he was at the scene to break the scuffle between the youth and his attackers.
The strongman claimed he rescued the youth and even had him shifted to a hospital. However, eyewitnesses, when quizzed by the cops, said that Mullick stood unmoved as the youth was bludgeoned to death.
The court, hearing the lynching case, was on Sunday notified of the transfer of the case from the district police to the CID, following which the latter took the strongman into its custody. He had earlier been remanded to police custody till May 26.
“He said the incident took place amid the frenzy and disquiet over a missing buffalo that was to be offered for sacrifice. He said the locals had been searching for it frantically when word got out that the person who allegedly stole the buffalo had been caught. Some locals then rushed to the spot, caught hold of Kaushik Purkait, and beat him up,” said a CID officer who asked not to be named.
The Trinamool strongman, along with others arrested in connection with the lynching case, have been shifted to Bhawani Bhaban, the CID headquarters in Kolkata. The sleuths, it is learnt, plan to sit Mullick along with the other five accused and grill them for further leads in the case.
Purkait, a college student, had been to his aunt’s residence in the South 24-Parganas on the day the buffalo went missing. His home is just a few doors away from his aunt’s. He walked over to his aunt’s in the evening and was speaking on his mobile phone when some locals caught him on suspicion of having stolen the buffalo.
The kin alleged that even as the mob started to rain savage blows on the youth, Mullick, a Trinamool member of the local grampanchayat, arrived at the spot and instigated the attackers to step up the assault.
It was at his behest that the youth was pulverised with wooden rods, sources claimed. The kin claimed that his captors even demanded a lump sum to release him.
Getting word of the assault, the kin filed a police complaint against the Trinamool strongman. However, he had already fled by then. After lying low for days, the South 24-Parganas police picked him up at Duttapukur in the North 24-Parganas.
Even as the opposition gunned for the Mamata regime, the case was handed to the premier state investigative agency. A CID team visited the bereaved kin on Friday and Saturday.
“The family members claimed that the student was lynched at Mullick’s behest. However, Mullick, during interrogation, claimed he wasn’t involved in the killing,” a CID officer said. Though the cops are on the lookout for the other accused, they fear that Mullick could be trying to shield others in the Trinamool.