Police registered a murder case against Uttar Pradesh minister Ram Murti Verma and nine others on Tuesday over a fatal attack on a journalist, who died after he was allegedly set on fire during a police raid on his home.
Shahjahanpur-based social media journalist Jagendra Singh succumbed to burn injuries in King George Medical University (KGMU) in state capital Lucknow on Monday.
Singh sustained severe burn injuries when police raided his home at Awas Vikas colony, under the jurisdiction of Kotwali police station, on June 1 to arrest him in connection with a case.
The journalist had alleged police inspector Sriprakash Rai set him on fire. He also accused Verma, the dairy development minister and a leader of the ruling Samajwadi Party, of hatching a conspiracy to kill him.
Police officials denied the allegations and said Singh set himself on fire to avoid being arrested.
Singh’s Facebook page had at least three recent posts levelling allegations against Verma, including one that he and four of his men had raped an anganwadi worker and another that he had illegally amassed assets worth crores of rupees. However, Singh did not give any evidence to back up his allegations.
Inspector Sriprakash Rai was among the people booked by police after Singh’s son Rahul filed a complaint. Rahul said he wanted action against the accused.
The others against whom the case was registered are Gufran, VK Dixit alias Bhure, Akash Gupta, Amit Pratap Singh and four unidentified policemen.
Police said Singh was wanted in a case of attempted murder lodged against him last month. Officials said the door of his house was shut when a police team went there on June 1.
When the police team knocked at the door, Singh asked who was there. When the policemen responded, he maintained a silence. Despite repeated attempts by police, there was no response from inside the house for some time.
The policemen then peeped inside through a ventilation point and saw smoke inside the home. They then entered the house and found Singh on fire, officials said.
Officials said the police team tried to “save” Singh by extinguishing the flames. Singh was taken to the district hospital and later referred to KGMU, where he died.