- Manoj Thakre was found dead in Balwadi, about 100 km from Barwani
- BJP leader, son and five others, including alleged killers were arrested
- They were upset over increasing popularity of Mr Thakre: Police
A BJP leader and his son from Madhya Pradesh have been arrested for allegedly ordering a hit on a local party leader. Manoj Thakre, 45, was found dead in Balwadi, about 100 km from Barwani, with injuries on his face and neck. A blood stained rock was found nearby.
BJP leader Tarachand Rathore and his son Vijay Rathore, who is panchayat secretary of village Khokhri, and five others, including the alleged contract killers were arrested today, District Superintendent of Police Yangchen Dolkar Bhutia said.
"Tarachand Rathore and his son were upset over the increasing popularity of Thakre who was BJP's Balwadi mandal chief. People went to Thakre for help which peeved Rathore," said Ms Bhutia.
Mr Rathore allegedly got in touch with some contract killers through his confidant Jhagardiya Panwara in the last week of December and offered them Rs 5 lakh to kill Mr Thakre, she added.
"On January 20, when Mr Thakre was on a morning walk, he was attacked with an axe at Tikiyapani square. As he fell down, the assailants dragged him to the nearby bushes and crushed his head with a stone and fled," she said.
The killers later fought over the distribution of the contract fee and the police got to know about it, the officer said.
After the police received some specific inputs, Anil Dabar, one of the alleged contract killers, was arrested. He revealed the murder plot to us, Ms Bhutia said.
The police recovered two motorcycles, Rs 1 lakh in cash and the axe used by the assailants.
Three others involved in the conspiracy are missing and the search is on, the officer said.
The law and order has deteriorated under the Congress government and BJP leaders are being targeted, BJP workers alleged.
Before Mr Thakre's murder, BJP leader Prahlad Bandhawar, chairman of Mandsaur Municipal Council, was shot dead on January 17.
According to the police, Manish Bairagi, who claimed to be a BJP worker, allegedly shot Bandhawar over a financial dispute.
The killings had rankled the opposition BJP and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan accused the Congress of "taking it lightly and seeking to make a cruel joke of the incidents".
"Criminals are roaming free and innocent people are being killed. Is this the 'change' the Congress promised during the election campaign?' said Mr Chouhan.
With inputs from PTI