The Bihar Police conducted raids at the Siwan divisional jail on Wednesday in connection with the murder of journalist Rajdeo Ranjan. The police searched the jail cell of former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin during the raid, according to a source.
The raid was conducted after the police received inputs that directions to kill Ranjan , the bureau chief of Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’, on May 13 came from the jail. Shahabuddin is lodged in the jail since 2004.
Police have already arrested Upender Singh, an aide of Shahabuddin, and are likely to take him on remand to quiz him in connection with the killing. Singh was briefly arrested over the murder of Shrikant Bharti, an associate of the BJP MP from Siwan in November 2014.
During the raid, the police recovered cell phones and knives from the jail. The police source said that the SIM cards of all the seized phones were procured on fake identities. The owner of a shop that sold the SIM cards has been detained for questioning.
According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, on the day of Ranjan’s murder, around 36 calls were made from Siwan jail to a suspect who was stationed at the place of the crime.
Investigators have told HT Ranjan spent the last few months probing Bharti’s death, for which he had blamed Shahabuddin in his news reports for Hindustan, a sister publication of Hindustan Times. Ranjan was also said to have helped release a video clip of a meeting between Abdul Gafoor, a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, and Shahabuddin at the Siwan jail in March.
Five police teams have been constituted to investigate the case. The Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar has already recommended a CBI probe into the journalist’s killing.