A 35-year-old former journalist from Madhya Pardesh was allegedly murdered by three persons who kidnapped him and set him ablaze apparently over his refusal to share the proceeds from a land deal, police said on Sunday.
The burnt body of Sandeep Kothari, who was abducted from Katangi tehsil in Balaghat district of the state a couple of days back, was found dumped near a railway track in the Butibori forest area in Wardha district of Maharashtra on Saturday night, said Balaghat additional superintendent of police Neeraj Soni.
Police have arrested two persons in connection with Kothari's murder and a third accused is absconding, he said.
Police suspect the accused, identified as Vishal Tandi and Brijesh Duharwal, who hailed from Katangi, had allegedly kidnapped Kothari and set him ablaze, Soni said, adding that the third accused, Rakesh Narsvani is absconding.
Kothari had gone missing while returning home on June 19. His family members had lodged a missing person's complaint with the Katangi police station on June 20.
Kothari was on his way to his home from Balaghat on June 19 night along with a friend on a bike when three persons travelling in a car intercepted them, kidnapped him and took him to a forest in Maharashtra and set him ablaze, Soni said.
"Both (the accused) have confessed to have killed Kothari and also revealed the name of the third accused, who is on the run. Acting on the accused's statement, a police team visited the forest area and recovered the body. The deceased's brother has identified the body," he told Hindustan Times.
Soni further said Kothari and Tandi had an old enmity, as they both worked as property brokers. “Recently, they had sold a piece of land and they fell out over sharing the commissions from the deal.”
"Kothari was earlier working for a Hindi newspaper but now he was working as a property dealer and there are 15 criminal cases registered against him. He had served a two prison terms earlier. He was also externed from the district," he added.
Meanwhile, state inspector general of police has announced a reward of Rs 30,000 for the arrest of Narsvani, the third accused.