Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday he was ready for a CBI probe into a senior journalist’s murder that has mounted pressure on the government amidst allegations of a jailed politician’s involvement in the incident.
Kumar’s statement came three days after 42-year-old Rajdeo Ranjan, the head of Hindi daily Hindustan in Siwan, was shot dead by unidentified men in the heart of the town, 145 km north-west of Patna.
“A formal decision (on a CBI probe) will be taken later in day and the Centre will be informed accordingly,” Kumar told newsmen.
He, however, said that the police are working on each and every angle to unravel the case.
Police, who claim to be on the verge on cracking the case, said on Sunday that the order to kill Ranjan came from Siwan jail, where former MP and RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin is serving a life sentence for murder.
Upendra Singh, a close associate of Shahabuddin, who was questioned by police is understood to have revealed that the instructions to kill the Siwan journalist was issued a fortnight ago.
Police sources said one criminal released from the jail recently approached Upendra to arrange arms for killing Ranjan.
The family of the slain journalist has also sought a probe by the central investigating agency.
The chief minister said he had been working in a transparent manner in the case. “The opposition can blame me. The patrons of crime will have to pay for it, whoever it is and however mighty he is, they have to face to music.”
The incident, coming days after the son of a ruling JD-U legislator was arrested for killing a youth in a case of road rage in Gaya, has put pressure on Nitish Kumar to clean up the law and order scene that has showed signs of deterioration in recent days.
It has also led to increasing attack from the opposition BJP which said the spate of killings confirmed the “return of maha jungle raj” in the state.
Kumar is also facing for engaging his entire administration in implementing prohibition, his pet project, leaving gaping holes in policing.