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By A Newsman

Malda, 05 September: MALDA police have arrested an elected gram panchayat member of the Trinamool Congress for the murder of a 70-year old woman on 23 August.

The elderly woman, Khudi Mondal, was shot dead allegedly because she was not willing to sell off a 20-cottah plot that she owned at Bhaluka village at Ratua in Malda to a powerful land mafia having political backing.

Yasin Ali, the Trinamool panchayat member was arrested from Tarapith More at Rampurhat in Birbhum district on Friday night. Ali was travelling by a private car when he was nabbed along with seven others on the basis of a tip off from Malda’s Harishchandrapur police station.

Police claim, Yasin and his gang were directly involved in the murder of the woman. They have been giving the police a slip ever since the woman’s body was found in a shanty with a bullet having pierced her back near shoulder.

Even as several Bengali television channels replayed the footage of state social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra ceremoniously welcoming Yasin into the Trinamul Congress a few months ago, Mitra on Saturday declined to admit his connection with the ruling party.

Bengal horticulture minister Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, who too was present in that induction ceremony, went a step further and outright rejected that arrested Yasin was ever a Trinamool member. “He had won election as an Independent candidate and there have been several criminal complaints pending against him. Police will act against him in accordance with the law,” he said.

Malda district Trinamool Congress president Muzzaem Hussain echoed the minister. “Yasin has no connection with the Trinamool whatsoever,” he said even as a group of Trinamool workers blocked the road at Ratua on Saturday protesting Yasin’s arrest.