Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Who killed Sunil Mahto?

Was Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP Sunil Mahto killed by Maoist guerrillas, who have denied their role in the incident? Or was he the victim of a plot hatched by the mafia? As investigators try and solve the sensational murder, the view here seems to be that it could be both.
The theory doing the rounds in the state is that the killing of Mahto might be an outcome of his feud with the mafia groups.

Informed sources said contractors were unhappy with Mahto, seen as a successor to the ruling party's chief Shibu Soren, who is undergoing life sentence for murder, as most contracts were going to his close associates.
'We cannot rule out the possibility of the mafia engaging some lower rank Maoist activists to kill Mahto. Lower rank Maoist activists sometime carry out killings without informing their higher authorities,' said an intelligence department official.

'Maoists find it difficult to extort levy from an MP and his men; lower rank Maoists could have joined hands with the mafia to kill the MP. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) will inquire into every aspect of it,' said the official.

The central government has so far termed it a handiwork of the Maoists but the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has denied its involvement in the killing. Mahto was killed along with four others in Jamshedpur Sunday evening while watching a football match.
'We have no role in the killing of the JMM MP. We condemn such incidents,' said Jeetan Marandi, a senior activist of the CPI-Maoist.
The CPI-Maoist had also denied its hand in the killing of Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) legislator Mahendra Singh in early 2005. But the police believe that junior Maoists killed him.
The probe into Mahendra Singh's murder was also handed over to the CBI but no breakthrough has been achieved by the agency so far.

Mahendra Singh was killed in the jungles of Giridih district Jan 16, 2005.
The manner in which both the killings were carried out are identical -- Singh was addressing a small gathering when he was killed from close range by motorcycle borne assailants and Mahto had seven bullets pumped into him while watching a soccer match.

Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaisawal also said that the killing could an outcome of a conspiracy. And Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda has not ruled out the possibility of a revenge killing either.'We are investigating the conspiracy angle,' said J.B Mahapatra, the director general of police

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