PATNA: Azharuddim Beg alias Laddan Mian, the prime suspect and conspirator in the killing of Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan, surrendered before police on Thursday morning.
Laddan, who had been eluding capture since the murder took place on May 13, was forced to surrender as police sealed district borders and intensified their manhunt, Siwan superintendent of police Saurabh Kumar Sah said.
Senior journalist Ranjan was shot dead last month at close range near the Siwan railway station. The 42-year-old was the bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, a sister concern of Hindustan Times.
Laddan, who had been released from Siwan jail 15 days before Ranjan’s murder, fled from Siwan with his family just two hours after the crime. He is considered to be a close aide of former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP, Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is currently serving a life sentence for the abduction and murder of two people in 2004.
Shahabuddin, who was earlier lodged in Siwan jail, was shifted to Bhagalpur central prison after subtle links connected him to the case. Investigations indicated that kill orders for Ranjan had come from inside Siwan jail. Police claimed they arrested 10 of 20 people close to Laddan who knew of the murder conspiracy.
Earlier, raids were conducted across several districts in Bihar and the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh to nab Laddan. When they produce him in court, police intend to plead for a 15-day remand to interrogate Laddan and corroborate evidence. Police arrested five people less than a week ago, including one Rohit Kumar, who, they said, confessed to carrying out the murder.
Though the CBI is set to take over the investigation, police are keen to question Laddan to confirm their findings. According to police sources, Laddan had been bailed out of jail a few months ago, leading to suspicions that he was offered a contract for the killing. Laddan used to be a sharpshooter for Shahabuddin who still holds considerable influence in the area. Authorities have been under pressure to solve the case as political opponents of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar claimed a return of the notorious jungle raj of the 1990s.