Bogtui massacre: Main accused in killings found dead in custody

The prime accused in the massacre at Bogtui village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district was found dead in CBI custody on Monday, officials familiar with the matter said.

While the federal agency claimed it was a case of suicide, the victim’s family alleged he was beaten to death in custody.

“Lalan Sheikh hanged himself at CBI’s campus office in Rampurhat. The investigating officers were in the court at that time. Sheikh wanted to go to the washroom and hanged himself,” a CBI official said, seeking anonymity.

Sheikh’s family, however, alleged he was beaten to death and demanded justice.

“When CBI brought him (Sheikh) home and also took him to his in-law’s house during the course of the probe, he could hardly stand. They thrashed him mercilessly. He was not even allowed to drink water. We want punishment for CBI officers,” Samsunnahar Bibi, Sheikh’s elder sister, told reporters.

Ten people were charred to death when eight huts were set ablaze in the village on March 21 in a suspected fallout of the murder of a TMC panchayat official Bhadu Sheikh which took place around an hour prior to the arson.

Police said they have begun a probe into Sheikh’s death. “Only after the post mortem and the magisterial inquest will we be able to ascertain the cause of death,” a police officer in Birbhum said, seeking anonymity.