BHOPAL: The 50-year-old Mandsaur Nagar Palika chairman and BJP leader Prahlad Bandhwar wasn't shot dead by any professional killer in Mandsaur town on Thursday evening, but was instead sprayed with bullets by a close aide and possibly a party worker identified as Manish Bairagi, ongoing police investigations into the case have revealed.
Primary investigations into the Thursday evening killing in Mandsaur town have revealed that it was the BJP leader's close aide Manish Bairagi (also a resident of Mandsaur only), who had shot Bandhwar thrice from close range from the country made pistol, which led to the Mandsaur municipality chairman's instant death.
A scanning of the accused's Facebook account showed his pictures with all top BJP leaders of Mandsaur, including his picture with the sitting MLA from Mandsaur seat Yashpal Singh Sisodiya and district BJP president Chandar Singh Sisodiya.
Bandhwar was standing outside the district cooperative bank building in the busy BPL Crossing area in Mandsaur town (around 400 km from Bhopal) at around 7.10 pm on Thursday, when the assassin riding a motorbike stopped near the BJP leader. After touching Bandhwar's feet and greeting him 'Jai Sri Ram,' the assassin later identified as Manish Bairagi shot the BJP leader thrice from point-blank range, resulting in Bandhwar's death.
"Based on the statements of eyewitnesses and subsequent investigations, the killer has been identified as Manish Bairagi, who is already accused in seven cases, including murder, attempt to murder, Arms Act and NDPS Act cases. Raids are being conducted at all possible places to nab him," IG-Ujjain Range Rakesh Gupta said.
Sources in Mandsaur police confided that primary probe has brought two possible reasons behind the killing. Bairagi had spent large sums on mother's treatment owing to which he was short of funds and was seeking money from Bandhwar, who was reluctant to give him money.
Secondly, Bairagi was peeved with Bandhwar as the latter had had not helped his cause of allotting him a piece of around 2000 sq ft land in Mandsaur town.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders, including ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP president Rakesh Singh attended the last rites of the murdered BJP leader in Mandsaur on Friday.
The BJP leader's killing meanwhile, triggered the shutdown of large part of Mandsaur district, including Garoth, Mandsaur and Suwasra towns.
Present CM and ex-CM trade barbs over two killings in 24 hours
In the wake of killings of the BJP leader Prahlad Bandhwar in Mandsaur and builder Sandeep Agrawal in Indore in 24 hours, ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote a letter to CM Kamal Nath in which he mentioned that two incidents (Indore and Mandsaur) suggest that the criminals have become bold and are getting political patronage since the Congress came to power in MP.
CM Kamal Nath responded to his predecessor with the reply in which he stated that it seems that your letter is inspired more by politics and less by concern over the two incidents.
"I can assure you that the culprits in both cases will be nabbed soon," wrote Kamal Nath.
Nath told journalists in Bhopal on Friday that "Son of the victim named the accused in the FIR (First Information Report).
There is no need for a big investigation. There are two eyewitnesses. Death should not be politicized especially when it is the internal matter of a party."