Former Trinamul Congress councillor Shambhu Nath Kow and six others facing different charges in connection with the death of another Trinamul leader, Adhir Maiti, were convicted by ninth additional district judge Sujoy Sengupta of Alipore Court on Thursday.
They were on trial for the murder of Maiti in a tussle over the control of a prime plot on Dhapa Road off EM Bypass. Apart from Kow, the other convicted persons are Sambu Halder, Babu Sona, Tarak Pain, Bikash Mondal, Shyamal Mukherjee and Ajoy Dolui.
Niru and Jyoti, also accused in this case, are absconding while Debashish Halder has been acquitted. Kow, whose bail pleas were turned down several times, was the second Trinamul leader arrested on a murder charge after the change of guard in the state.
Mohammad Iqbal, alias Munna, who was chairman of borough 15 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, was arrested in connection with the murder of police officer Tapas Chowdhury in front of Harimohan Ghose College in Garden Reach area during a clash between Congress and Trinamul supporters in February, 2013.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had visited the house of a Trinamul Congress leader who was killed in a clash between two groups of the party over a vacant piece of land at Dhapa. During her visit to the house of the deceased, Adhir Maiti, the chief minister handed over a cheque of two lakh rupees to his family members.
Maiti died at a hospital when he was brought there after the clash at Dhapa in the eastern fringes of the city. The chief minister offered employment to two persons of the Maiti family.
The chief minister also assured the family members of the deceased that appropriate action would be taken against the main accused, Kow. She had ordered the arrest of Kow who was absconding.
The chargesheet stated that Maiti had been opposing Kow’s plan to shift a temple and several shops from the Dhapa Road plot, valued at about Rs 10 crore.
Kow allegedly wanted the temple and the shops relocated because these were blocking the way to a condominium where, the police said, he had a stake.
During a row over the plot on 20 March last year, Kow had allegedly assaulted Maiti, who had a cardiac problem and a pacemaker installed. Maiti fell on the ground under the impact and died. Kow fled the spot immediately after Maiti’s death and was arrested from Sikandarpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district.
Before the police could trace Kow to the Sikandarpur house of his acquaintance Mintu Khan, a nephew of Debasish Sarkar was arrested in front of a Bhowanipore mall for allegedly helping his uncle flee the city.
Sarkar, 24, was tried for harbouring an offender. The sleuths recovered a bag stashed with Rs 59 lakh and gold ornaments weighing 566 gram from a house where Kow’s wife took refuge for two days. The police also seized one of the vehicles of Kow who is the councillor of ward-58 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.