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RTI activist found dead in car

New Delhi, May 2: Chandra Mohan Sharma, a 39-year-old RTI activist, was charred to death inside his car that apparently caught fire in Greater Noida around midnight on Thursday.

His family has alleged that he was murdered for fighting against illegal encroachments by the land mafia. They claimed he had filed a complaint on Monday fearing a threat to his life and even named some people, but police took no action.

An FIR was registered today on a complaint from Sharma’s wife Savita. “The body has been sent for post-mortem to ascertain the cause of death,” a police officer said.

The police said the control room got a call around midnight yesterday from some passers-by that a Chevrolet Aveo was in flames. Sharma used to work with a private company in Greater Noida and was on his way home.

“He was found charred inside the car by the time fire tenders reached the spot,” the officer added.

His family said he had left his workplace at 11.10pm and had spoken to his kids over the phone before that, around 10.30pm. When he did not reach home by the usual time, they tried calling his mobile but it could not be reached. The police identified him by his car’s registration number today.

Savita said her husband was a social activist and had exposed irregularities in plot allotment and encroachment by the land mafia.

“He filed RTI applications and exposed illegal capture of government plots by the land mafia. He had got threat calls from goons last week,” said Savita, an active member of the Aam Aadmi Party.

“On April 28, he was returning home when his car was stopped by goons. They threatened to kill him. We informed the police and requested that he be given protection and action be taken against suspected persons. But no action was taken. Now they are trying to turn murder into an incident,” she claimed.

The police said the doors of the car were locked from inside and the windows were rolled up.

“It seems the car caught fire while driving. We are scanning CCTV footage of the area and taking help from forensic experts to ascertain the cause of death,” said Brijesh Singh, the SP of Greater Noida.

Preliminary inquiries showed a CNG kit installed in the car had been removed four days ago. “We have sent the car for examination to find out why it caught fire,” said Singh.