CCTV footage of Hindustan bureau chief Rajdeo Ranjan’s murder at Siwan in Bihar has disappeared mysteriously, further concretising the police theory that professional killers were involved. Four suspects have been detained in this regard.
The 42-year-old journalist was shot dead allegedly by five motorcycle-borne men after he left his office around 7.15 pm on Saturday. He was on his way to the station area to meet a relative when the incident occurred.
“CCTV footage from cameras installed in the dense traffic area along the Siwan Railway station has gone missing, heightening suspicions of a professional hit,” said a high-ranking police officer. The other clue indicating such a possibility was the manner in which Ranjan was killed – with a bullet shot straight through the temple and another in the neck.
“The shooting looks very professional. They shot to kill, and ensure that the target stayed dead,” the officer said. However, the theory can be confirmed only after the autopsy report comes out, he added.
The officer did not rule out the possibility that an insider in the police force, with access to the surveillance room, may have deleted the records.
The murder also drew the attention of finance minister Arun Jaitley, who called for an independent investigation into the incident. “I strongly condemn murder of journalists, Rajdeo Ranjan in Siwan & Akhilesh Pratap Singh (who was killed in Jharkhand’s Chatra district),” he tweeted.
Tirhut range inspector general Paras Nath is interrogating four people who were detained in connection with Ranjan’s murder.
Nath told HT that efforts were on to retrieve the CCTV data that had gone missing. He said the police will investigate if the murder was linked to Ranjan’s past political writings, and whether there was any substance in allegations that it was spurred by a video he released of state minister Abdul Gafoor meeting former RJD Siwan MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in prison.
The investigators also plan to probe the personal enmity angle in the murder.
Ranjan was employed with Hindustan — a sister concern of Hindustan Times — for 20 years. According to colleagues, he was supposed to celebrate his 14th wedding anniversary with a gala party on Saturday.