Rampurhat/Kolkata: Eight persons died in the early hours of Tuesday after their houses caught fire at Rampurhat in Birbhum district, police said.
The incident took place within an hour after the alleged murder of a Trinamool Congress panchayat leader on Monday, DGP Manoj Malaviya told reporters in Kolkata.
Malaviya said seven charred bodies were recovered from one of the burnt houses, while one injured person died in hospital.
“The situation is now under control and a police picket has been established in the village since last night. We are investigating how the houses caught fire and whether the incident is related to the death of the panchayat deputy chief of Barshal village,” he said.
Asked about claims by some fire brigade officials that 10 bodies were found, the top police officer clarified while seven of them were recovered after the blaze was brought under control, three injured persons were rescued of whom one died in a hospital.
The SDPO and in-charge of Rampurhat police station have been removed from active policing duty, the DGP said.
The state government has set up a special investigation team headed by ADG (CID) Gyanwant Singh, Malaviya said.
The ruling TMC has also sent a three-member MLA team led by minister Firhad Hakim to the spot to take stock of the situation.
The body of Bhadu Sheikh, the TMC panchayat deputy chief of Barshal village, was found in the area on Monday, police had said.