The Inside Story
BARRACKPORE: A state armed police constable on Sunday smuggled a loaded SLR from West Bengal's Latbagan police camp and shot dead a married woman, her husband and sister-in-law at Ardali Bazar near Barrackpore Air force Grounds.

The constable, Pijush Ghosh, escaped with the stolen weapon. Police suspect the murders are a fallout of an illicit affair between Pijush and Sharbani Pal (34). A mother of two children, Sharbani later wanted to break off the relationship.

Sharbani's husband Manabendra Nath Pal (42), an employee of Cossipore gun and shell factory, and his elder sister Rohini Roy (46), too, fell victim to Pijush's firing. Sharbani's brother, Bibhash Sarkar, was also present but managed to escape. Police is questioning him.

Pijush had come to Barrackpore Latbagan police camp only five days ago after completing his stint in Bankura.

Senior police officers S N Gupta, DIG (Presidency Range), Rahul Srivastava, DIG (Vigilance) visited the spot. Police suspect Pijush had planned to kill them. The SLR rifle he used to kill was loaded with around 50 rounds of cartridges.

``The accused had a relationship with Sharbani. He went missing since Saturday night. The SLR rifle which he took away from the camp was not his service rifle,'' said Gupta.

Pijush is suspected to have shot six times and fled immediately. A resident of Murshidabad's Jalangi, he seems to have escaped to Hooghly, police suspect.

The three victims were rushed to a Barrackpore Hospital where Manabendra and Sharbani were pronounced dead. Rohini was admitted with bullet injuries. She was later shifted to Kolkata's RG Kar Hospital where she died.

Pijush got to know Sharbani when he stayed as a paying guest at her parent's house four years back and they fell in love, said locals. Sharbani's mother Shikha Sarkar, however, said, ``Pijush forced my daughter into a relationship inspite of knowing she was married to Manabendra for over a decade and had two children, an eight-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son.''

Pijush stayed at the house for about six months. ``When we learnt of the affair, we drove him out,'' Shikha said.

Later, Sharbani's husband Manabendra too learnt about the affair. Often there were brawls between Manabendra and Pijush over the illicit relationship. ``On Saturday night Pijush called Manabendra on his mobile phone to settle the matter amicably,'' Shikha said.

Around 8am on Sunday, Manabendra along with Sharbani, his sister Rohini and Sharbani's brother Bibhash went to Ardali Bazar to meet Pijush who was in his uniform with the SLR in his hand. He took them to a field near Ardali Bazar. After an argument, Pijush fired indiscriminately from the gun.

``We were working at a construction site nearby when we heard the gunshots. We saw a constable firing at three persons. We rushed to the spot and found the three of them lying in a pool of blood,'' said Binod Singh, an eyewitness.

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