BHOPAL: Two high-profile killings of a builder and a BJP leader within 24 hours in Indore and Mandsaur districts have jolted Madhya Pradesh.
First, it was the killing of 40-year-old builder Sandeep Agrawal by unidentified assassins on a busy street close to the Vijay Nagar police station in Indore on Wednesday evening.
Within a span of 24 hours only another high-profile killing happened in Mandsaur district (200 km from Indore) as the Mandsaur Nagar Palika president and senior BJP leader Prahlad Bandhwar was shot dead from close range by unidentified assassin outside the district cooperative bank in the crowded BPL Crossing area.
According to preliminary reports, the Mandsaur municipality chief Prahlad Bandhwar, aged around 50 years was standing outside the district cooperative building in the crowded BPL crossing area, when unidentified assassin riding a motorbike stopped near him and shot the BJP leader in the head from point blank range with a pistol at around 7.10 pm on Thursday.
The BJP leader was rushed immediately to the Mandsaur district hospital, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival. The assassin who fled from the spot after killing the BJP leader left the motorbike behind.
Meanwhile, a crowd of BJP supporters and local residents reached the Mandsaur District Hospital and the nearby markets were shut down.
A heavy police force has been deployed in the Mandsaur town to prevent any untoward happening as a reaction to the killing, while a manhunt has been launched to nab the accused.
Cops in adjoining districts, Ratlam and Neemuch as well as neighbouring Rajasthan too have been alerted for tracking and nabbing the accused.
"It's still not clear whether only one person was involved in the killing or there were two men on the motorbike. All efforts are being made to track and nab the accused and prevent any reactionary violence in the Mandsaur district," IG (Ujjain Range) Rakesh Gupta said.
An early probe, however, suggests that a land dispute could be behind the BJP leader's killing, police sources in Mandsaur confided.
Just a day before the BJP leader's killing in Mandsaur, a builder Sandeep Agrawal was shot dead by unidentified assassins outside a commercial complex close to the Vijay Nagar police station in Indore.
The sensational crime happened at around 7.30 pm when the builder (who too is accused in criminal cases in the past) had just come out of the commercial complex on the busy street. Two men armed with country-made pistols opened fire on Sandeep from close range, after which he slumped on the ground. After opening fire on Sandeep, the two men walked back into a white car parked across the busy street.
Just a few seconds later, another assassin returned with a gun and opened fire on Sandeep again to ensure his end. The unidentified assassin subsequently walked to the car, after terrorizing onlookers by brandishing the weapon.
Sandeep was rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared him dead at around 11 pm.
A primary probe has revealed that monetary dispute pertaining to the businesses in which Sandeep was engaged could have triggered the killing by professional killers. Besides being a builder, Sandeep was also reportedly engaged in commodity trading and cable TV business.
According to DIG-Indore HN Chari Mishra, a reward of Rs 20,000 has been announced for getting clinching information about the killers, who could be numbering two-three. Around three dozen persons have so far been questioned by Indore police.
State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the two killings in 24 hours have exposed the state of law and order in the state under the new regime.
MP cabinet minister Jeetu Patwari, who hails from Indore only, said the police have been asked in both districts to track and nab the killers at the earliest.