IN UP, 3 arrested for setting journalist, friend on fire with sanitiser

Uttar Pradesh: Journalist Burnt to Death For Writing Against Corrupt Pradhan, 3 Arrested

Three persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of a journalist and his friend in Uttar Pradesh’s Balarampur for writing about corruption of a Pradhan, police said. The three persons have confessed their crime, PTI reported. Journalist Rakesh Singh, 35, and his friend Pintu Sahu were charred to death in a fire that broke out in his village house under Kotwali Dehat police station area in Balarampur district. Superintendent of Police, Balarampur, Devarajan Verma said Keshvanand’s mother was a village head and Rakesh Singh had exposed siphoning off of funds under her. On Friday, Rakesh Singh Nirbhik, who used to write for a Lucknow-based newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop, along with friend Pintu Sahu, 34, were found with severe burn injuries inside the journalist’s home in a village in Balarampur, around 160 km from state capital Lucknow. Sahu had already died,  Nirbhik was rushed to a Lucknow hospital where he died a few hours later. Before he died, Mr Nirbhik told hospital officials he had been writing regularly on alleged corruption by the local village gram Pradhan and her son. “This is the price for reporting the truth,” the journalist can be heard saying in a 2.5-minute video even as he cries in agony.

The accused hold a grudge against Singh over it, PTI stated in its report. They went to his house on the pretext of talks. They made Singh and his friends consume alcohol and later committed the crime, the SP said. He also said alcohol-based sanitiser was used to burn the house so that the murder could look like an accident.“To burn the house using the chemical, Lalit Mishra and Keshvanand Mishra took the help of Akram Ali alias Abdul Qadir, who is an expert in executing incidents like these,” the police officer was quoted as saying by the news agency.

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