People know who killed my son: Father of slain Hindustan journo Ranjan

  • Avinash Kumar, Hindustan Times, Siwan
  • Updated: May 16, 2016 18:10 IST
Ashish Ranjan (with shaved head), son of murdered Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan, after the last rites. (Vijay Swaroop / HT Photo )

Father of murdered Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan has said that “everybody knew who had killed his son” and demanded a CBI inquiry into the case.

Radhakrishna Choudhary, a small farmer, also claimed on Saturday that his son had no known enemy.

He said, “Everbody knows, at whose instance my son has been killed”. Conscious that bigwigs may have been involved in the murder, Choudhary demanded a CBI inquiry, saying he had no faith in the local or state administration.

Rajdeo Ranjan, the Siwan bureau chief of the Hindi newspaper Hindustan, which is part of the HT Media, was shot dead on Friday at a busy market near the Station Road in the district.

There is now increasing suspicion that Ranjan may have been killed under a well-planned conspiracy.

Top police personnel investigating the case told HT that there is an uncanny resemblance of this case with an earlier one, executed with the same professionalism and finesse.

“If it is such a case, it could even be a local politics linked,” they said.

DIG, Saran range, Ajit Rai said, “The case has an uncanny resemblance to that of the murder of Shrikant Bharti in November 2014. The place and site of Bharti and Rajdeo’s murder is the same-the same crowd cover was used to wrap the killing and make getaways.”

The difference in this case is that the killers used silencers to muffle the reports of the five bullets fired as not to scare the crowd and people hardly knew of the murder till the body fell to the ground and started oozing blood from five wounds to the body.

Bharti was a close aide of BJP parliamentarian from Siwan, Om Prakash Yadav and was killed. Police investigations had revealed that the killer was hired from Mau in Uttar Pradesh, while one Upendra Singh, a close aide of incarcerated ex-MP of Siwan, Mohammad Shahabuddin was involved.

Three persons have so far been detained in connection with the case.

One of the people detained under suspicion is the same Upendra Prasad, who is now being interrogated intensely, police said.

Incidentally, Rajdeo had in the last four months extensively focussed his pen on the Shrikant Bharti murder and implication of Shahabuddin aides in a case where two brothers were soaked in acid and burnt by his henchmen.

Police said, “It seems from the scan of his writings over the months that he had written extensively on Bharti and the acid killings in which the ex-MP aides. were involved. Maximum reports are on them and he had earned bylines on each. We are looking at a possible connection to the crime”.

DIG Rai said the mobile of Rajdeo, the journalist, retrieved from the killing site on Siwan’s station road market area, is now being scanned for the calls he may have received, because it looks like he was called away from office at around 7.30 pm to a site, which happened to be close to the actual area of murder. There is one number, which Rajdeo intermittently received and called on, which is being probed.

Police say, “The route that Rajdeo took on the fateful day was not his usual way home from work and it seems his leaving the office suddenly could have resulted from a call he received towards his life’s end”.

It is this suspicion that has forced the police to closely scrutinise four private CCTVs which were installed by shops on the Station Road and trace, whether some evidence of the killers can be gleaned from them.

To the police’s shock, the shop near the killing site had been rendered inoperational just three days back, besides another, just 200 metres from the site.

Whether they were deliberately tampered with and the shopkeepers directed to keep them off, is now in the ambit of the larger inquiry.

However, the police are scanning two other CCTVs one to the east of the site, some 300 metres down the road and another some 500 metres to the west to scan the traffic at the time of the killing and trace the assailants who had come on motorcycles.

“We are looking at the inoperational ones, which are reported to have developed trouble suddenly. The two other CCTVs, if they were functional, will allow us to reconstruct the event and identify registration plates of the motorcycles used in the killing,” Rai and Siwan SSP Sourav Kumar Sah said.

The police are also reconstructing whether Rajdeo ever took the road home on other days.

The SSP said: “If there is footage on any of these operational CCTVs in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene and matching the time of the killing, we are positive of picking up the assailants”.

He said, “It would also reveal, whether the CCTVs had been deliberately tampered with while timing the killing.”

The police has already pulled up the call details of the victim for the last three months and is examining the records, even as a cyberexperts team has been commissioned to restore any CCTV footage, which could have been lost, due to ‘criminal deletion’.

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