A senior Hindustan journalist’s murder in Bihar’s Siwan is almost identical to the killing of a political operative two years ago and an aide of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Mohammad Shahabuddin is suspected in both cases, police said on Saturday.
Investigators told HT Hindi daily Hindustan’s Siwan bureau chief Rajdeo Ranjan spent the last few months probing the 2014 death of Shrikant Bharti and implicated Shahabuddin in the murder in newspaper reports.
The former RJD parliamentarian is a local strongman who is serving a life sentence for the murder of two brothers.
“The case has an uncanny resemblance to Bharti’s murder in November 2014. The place and site of Bharti and Rajdeo’s murder have great similarity -- crowd cover used to make getaways,” said Saran deputy inspector general of police Ajit Rai.
Top police officials confirmed the “uncanny resemblance” and said both murders were executed with the same professionalism and finesse.”If it is such a case, it could even be a politically aided killing,” they said.
Ranjan, 42, was gunned down by criminals on Friday evening on the busy station road in Siwan, triggering outrage and underscoring the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Bharti was a close aide of BJP’s Siwan MP, Om Prakash Yadav. Investigations revealed the killer was hired from Mhow in Uttar Pradesh, and Upendra Singh, an aide of Shahbuddin, was involved. Police have detained Upendra Singh and are questioning him.
Unlike the 2014 murder, the killers this time used silencers to muffle the sound of the shot to not scare the crowd.
In the last four months, Ranjan focused on the link between Shahabuddin and the murders of Bharti and another case where two brothers were soaked in acid and burnt -- the crime in which the RJD leader is incarcerated.
“It seems from a scan of his writings that he had written extensively on the ex-MP and the activities of his aides. Maximum reports are on them and he had earned bylines on each. We are looking at a possible connection to the crime,” police said.
The journalist’s father -- Radhkrishna Choudhary, a small farmer – said his son had no enemy. But he demanded a CBI inquiry, saying he had no faith in the local or state administration.
“Everbody knows, at whose instance my son has been killed,” he said.
Rai said Ranjan’s mobile phone records indicate he was called away from office at around 7.30 pm to a spot close to the site of the murder.
“The route did not fall in Nandan’s regular way home and it seems he left his office after receiving a call,” police said.