The CBI is examining a request received from the Bihar government seeking the agency’s takeover of the state police’ probe into the murder of senior journalist Rajdeo Ranjan last Friday.
“The CBI has received a communication from the Bihar government, requesting the agency to take over the probe into the murder of senior journalist Rajdeo Ranjan last week,” said a CBI source. The source said that the “CBI is examining the state’s request” and will communicate its opinion to appropriate central government authorities, including the the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), as per the protocol.
According to the source, though the agency is facing acute manpower shortage, especially in its investigative ranks, the CBI is likely give its consent to take up the “sensitive murder probe” as per the protocol. As per the protocol, the state is required to formally request the home ministry for a CBI probe, which will be forwarded to the agency via the DoPT for its consent. Once the CBI may give its consent, the DoPT will issue a notification formalizing the takeover.
Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar had on Monday said the state government will recommend for a CBI probe in the murder case to the Centre, keeping in mind the desire of the slain journalist’s family. Ranjan’s wife Asha had demanded a CBI probe into the murder, to ensure that the culprits get “stringent punishment”.
Ranjan was shot dead allegedly by five unidentified criminal, who were bikes-borne, as he was heading home from work. A city bureau chief of the Hindi daily Hindustan, a sister concern of Hindustan Times, Ranjan was hit in the head, while another struck him on his neck and was declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital.
The manner in which Ranjan was targeted raised suspicions he was killed by professional hit men, according to another agency source. “The journalist was killed via a head shot to ensure he did not survive. He looks to have been targeted by professional killers, who knew how to execute such an operation in a crowded locality and get away cleanly,” he said.
Though the local police have detained several persons, it is yet to arrest anyone or zero in on the crime’s motive and weapons used in it. The police are examining the possibility of Ranjan getting targeted due to his reports against the state’s powerful elements.
CBI is probing the role of hired killers in another high-profile murder probe, of caste-based private militia Ranvir Sena’s founder Brahmeshwar Singh , it took over from the Bihar police in 2013 but is yet to crack it.