Slain BJP leader's kin suspects political rivalry

Tension prevailed in Dadri in Gautam Budh Nagar district in Noida after a senior BJP leader Vijay Pandit was gunned down by four unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants on the busy Grand Trunk Road on Saturday last.

Police sources here on Sunday said that Pandit, who was shot four times, was rushed to hospital, but was declared brought dead.

Pandit, whose wife was the chairperson of Dadri Nagar Palika Parishad, was sprayed with bullets while he was on way home after visiting his brother’s shop in the area late on Saturday evening. The killers managed to make good their escape, though they left behind one of the motorcycles.

BJP supporters, who came out on the streets in large numbers in protest against the killing, later went berserk and torched several vehicles in Dadri and indulged in heavy stone-pelting at security personnel. Several police personnel were injured in the stone-pelting, sources said.

Pandit was cremated amid tight security on Sunday. Sources said that four persons have been detained in connection with the killing and raids were being conducted to nab other suspects.

Although police officials said the motive behind the killing could be related to extortion, Pandit’s brother said the perpetrators were political rivals. “My brother had been receiving threatening calls after the recent Lok Sabha polls,” Lokesh Pandit, the slain BJP leader’s brother, said.

He said Pandit, who actively campaigned in favour of Mahesh Sharma, the BJP nominee from Noida, in the polls, was asked to withdraw from campaigning and was warned of consequences if he did not.

The slain BJP leader had also lodged a written complaint with police in this regard in April. Pandit’s wife said a senior Samajwadi Party leader from Noida was behind the murder. She also demanded a CBI probe into the killing.

BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak decried the killing and demanded a CBI probe into the matter, saying the party did not have faith in local police.

‘Won’t spare the guilty’

Promising swift action in the murder of Pandit, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said the culprits will not be spared. He said anyone found guilty in the incident will not be spared.

Akhilesh directed senior officials to reach the spot and thoroughly investigate all aspects of the case, a home department spokesman said.

“Last night till 3 am, we were monitoring. Very senior officials, IG (Noida Zone) Alok, DIG, DM have gone there,” said Deepak Singhal, Principal Secretary in the UP Home Department.

“It’s a saddening incident, but the administration and our CM has decided to take law and order situation under control and to arrest those responsible as soon as possible and take action,” Singhal added.

Four detained

Four persons were detained on Sunday for questioning in connection with the murder of Pandit. “We have detained four persons for questioning. The deceased’s family had given names of some suspects. A hunt has been launched to nab them,” a police official said.

MP Mahesh Sharma has demanded the arrest of the killers and alleged there was “jungle raj” in the city as criminals were striking at will while police failed to check rising crime. The killing of the BJP leader has “exposed” the law and order situation, he said.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Nothing like the government can be seen in UP. Law and order situation has completely been destroyed and the UP government is responding in a very casual way.”

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