Police arrested seven persons from different parts of the state in connection with the murder of S Shrinivas Naidu, alias Shrinu, on Friday.
West Midnapore SP Bharati Ghosh said that Shrinu’s rivals, who wanted to stop his rise as a political leader, were behind his murder. Two of the four meetings to chalk out the plan to kill Shrinu were hatched in a neighbouring state.
Sources said the mastermind behind the murder, Shankar Rao, was arrested from the Bengal-Odisha border. Investigators came to know that during Shrinu’s murder Rao was not in the state.
Police also arrested Nanda Das from Jodashimul area in Jhargram. The other accused, namely Barun Das, Rajesh Sahu, Sanjay Prasad alias Guddu, Anil and Krishna Prasad were arrested from Midnapore.
It was revealed during the investigation that Rao had given Rs 50,000 to Sahu to be passed on to Barun Das. They had also bought a second hand off-white coloured Tata Sumo.
Five of the eight culprits went to the party office that Shrinu had gone to after returning from Kolkata on Wednesday, while three others went on a motorbike to kill him. The person, who had fired at Shrinu from point blank range, is a contract killer from Jharkhand. The accused persons had also held a meeting in a house in Jharkhand.
The contract killer was instructed to kill Shrinu at any cost, asserting that the operation should not fail. Police are in search of three more accused and interrogating one more person who was detained this morning.
Bharati Ghosh said that Shrinu – who used to be a gangster – had many rivals, who had come together to plot his murder. “With the victim’s wife joining politics, Shrinu might have also felt to quit the world of mafia and return to regular life. We had not received any complaints against him in the past year and a half,” said Ghosh.
“He had made many rivals and they killed him as he was gradually taking interest in business,” she said, adding that there had been three to four meetings to chalk out Shrinu’s murder plot. Ghosh, however, did not reveal the names of the kingpins for the sake of the investigation.
The second and third meetings reportedly took place in Kharagpur. On January 8, the masterminds finalised the plan at the house of one Jon Francis. The house is situated near Avijatri Club.