RTI activist murder finger at hired killers
Patna: A Vaishali-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, Jayant Kumar, was killed by professional killers for exposing corruption in the Bihar State Food Corporation (BSFC), police said on Tuesday.
Acting on a tip-off, members of the special investigation team (SIT) headed by Mahua sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Anant Kumar Rai arrested four suspects, including Munna Rai, husband of a block pramukh, for their alleged involvement in the murder of the RTI activist on April 4 this year.
Jayant, a resident of Chakvyas village in Vaishali district, was shot dead and another person, identified as Arvind Kumar, was injured when a gang of motorbike-borne criminals opened fire near Goroul panchayat bhavan under the jurisdiction of Goroul police station on April 4 this year.
Arvind, stated to be a close relative of Jayant, was released from hospital recently and later produced before the court to get his statement recorded.
Vaishali superintendent of police (SP) Rakesh Kumar said the conspiracy to eliminate the RTI activist was hatched by Munna and his associate, Ranjeet, and they had promised to pay Rs 3 lakh to the contract killers.
Ranjeet, a petty contractor associated with the BSFC, used to give Rs 1 lakh per month to Munna in lieu of help in the awarding of contract of work in the BSFC, an undertaking of the state government's food and civil supplies department. Jayant had allegedly gathered relevant information to expose the financial bungling in the BSFC.
Vaishali SP Rakesh said while three suspects - Ranjeet, Vikas and Uday Kumar - were initially arrested from their hideouts, Munna, the alleged mastermind behind the murder, was arrested from the police lines. But two sharp shooters, Alok Kumar and Ravi Kumar, were still absconding.
The SP revealed that Munna had paid Rs 1.75 lakh as advance to the contract killers' gang. The rest of the amount was to be paid later. The police, however, recovered Rs 50,000 and three mobiles from the arrested, who confessed to the crime, the SP added.
Vikas was assigned to keep close surveillance on Jayant ever since the deal was struck with the shooters. On April 4, Alok and Ravi reached the spot in the morning on a motorbike and fired with their illegal weapon, which is yet to be seized from the assailants.
An FIR was lodged with the Goroup police station on the statement of the injured, Arvind Kumar, the husband of former deputy mukhiya of Inayatnagar panchayat in Vaishali district, Savitri Devi. Jayant had earlier earned the ire of several politicians, police officers and contractors for exposing corruption through RTI applications.
The SP had earlier claimed that Jayant was involved in several criminal cases. Jayant was chargesheeted in several cases of robbery and violence. He was released from jail a couple of months ago.
"Our investigation is based entirely on scientific evidence," the SP added.
A Buxar-based RTI activist, Shiv Prakash Rai, had last month told reporters in Patna that false cases had been registered nearly 600 RTI activists in Bihar. At least 13 RTI activists have been killed in the state. The RTI Act came into effect in 2005.