According to an eyewitness who lodged an FIR later, a man and a woman riding a bike shot Sarkar. The murder is the latest act of violence which has rocked the state ahead of the panchayat elections scheduled next month.
Sarkar, 65, went out for the morning walk around 6.30 am when the assailants shot him from close range. Four bullets were pumped in his chest and abdomen, police said. He was rushed to Burnpur ISP Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The CPI(M), which is in the opposition in the state, blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) for the incident and called a 12-hour Asansol sub-divisional strike on Monday. Police were also probing whether Maoists were involved in the incident or whether it was a result of factional feud.
Sarkar is the second former CPM legislator to murdered in the state after the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC came to power two years ago, the first being Burdwan's Pradip Tah, who was hacked to death in broad daylight.