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Guj BJP leader shot dead in train, kin blame party colleague

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

Senior BJP and former MLA was shot dead by unidentified persons while he was travelling in a train in the early hours of Tuesday, police said.

His wife and brother later in the day alleged that colleague, Chhabil Patel, was behind the act.

The incident took place around 2 am on the Bhuj-Dadar Express train when Bhanushali (53) was returning to Ahmedabad from Bhuj town of district in Gujarat, police said.

Bhanushali had stepped down from the post of BJP's last year after a woman accused him of rape. However, the High Court had quashed the case in August 2018 after the woman withdrew the complaint.

of Police (CID) told reporters that, as per preliminary probe, Bhanushali was apparently shot dead between and in the district during early hours.

Bhanushali, who was travelling in a AC First Class coupe of the train, was shot on his forehead and chest, said Bhatia.

"Apart from Bhanushali, there was another passenger in that 1st class coupe. This passenger was alloted the upper berth. He told us that when he came back to the coupe from the toilet, he saw Bhanushali lying in a pool of blood," Bhatia informed.

Bhatia said no one had seen the assailants as there were only two passengers in the coupe, adding that other passengers and the attendant would be questioned for leads.

"Forensic experts have recovered two empty bullet cases and three live 7.65 mm calibre cartridges. It shows the bullets were fired at close range from a country-made pistol," said Bhatia.

"We have learnt that a chain pulling was recorded between 00:55am and 00:58am between and This is also an important lead for us," said Bhatia.

He said the state CID-Crime and had formed a seven member team, headed by DIG (CID) Gautam Parmar, to probe the case.

was in the process of registering a case in connection with the killing, an said.

told reporters that the police had been asked to conduct a thorough inquiry and apprehend the culprits as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Bhanushali's wife told reporters, "must have given contract to kill my husband. He has now fled the country."

"When Patel lost the election in the last Assembly polls, he circulated a video in which he can be heard saying that he will shoot his political rivals. Patel is behind the murder of my brother," Bhanushali's brother alleged.

Patel could not be contacted as his cellphone was switched off and he is reportedly out of the country at present.

Bhanushali had represented the constituency in from 2007 to 2012.

He was defeated by Patel, at the time in the Congress, in 2012. Within two years, Patel switched sides and joined the BJP but lost the bypoll for the seat in 2014.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the party had chosen Patel over Bhanushali for Abdasa seat. However, Patel lost to a candidate.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 21:15 IST