Six suspects were questioned in connection with the murder of RTI activist Premnath Jha, 42, in Virar, on Sunday.
On Friday afternoon, Jha — who was on his way to his residence at Gurudatt Nagar on his bike — was allegedly shot at by an unidentified man. As Jha fell off his bike, passersby thought that he had met with an accident and rushed him to a hospital in the vicinity. Jha died during the course of treatment.
Yusuf Bagwan, inspector, Virar police station, said that the questioning has yielded little information about Jha’s assailant.
The police are probing whether Jha, who sought information about illegal constructions in the area, had a tiff with people having vested interests that could have led to the firing.
Though Jha has been portrayed as an RTI activist, eight criminal cases have been filed against him in the past.
“Jha was not an RTI activist, but a real estate agent. He extorted money from illegal construction owners in Virar. He has several cases of cheating, voluntarily causing hurt and demanding ransom lodged against him,” said Bagwan.
“In 2007, we had filed an application for his externment from the city. However, in 2009, he signed a bond with the police stating that he would stop his activities if he were allowed to stay in the city,” added Bagwan.
Sanjay Pathak, an India Against Corruption (IAC) activist working in the Vasai-Virar belt, said: “Had it not been for our insistence on the autopsy report, the police were willingly to dismiss it as a case of accident.”
The post-mortem report revealed that there was a bullet in his neck, following which a case of murder was registered.
Pathak, who got acquainted with Jha last month, said that Jha had antagonised many people because of his inquiries into illegal constructions. “We want the case to be investigated thoroughly,” said Pathak.