Killing the messenger

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Minister Ram Murti Singh Verma was on Tuesday booked along with five others in connection with the killing of a journalist by setting him afire in Shahjahanpur district.

An FIR has been registered against Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Ram Murti Singh Verma, Inspector Sri Prakash Rai besides four others identified as Gufran, Akash Gupta, Amit Pratap Singh, and Bhure for allegedly killing Jagendra Singh by setting him afire, police said.

The FIR has been lodged under IPC 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The FIR was registered at Puwayan police station this afternoon on the basis of a complaint by Jagendra’s son Raghvendra, after the journalist passed away during treatment at a hospital here last night, police said.

According to the family members of the deceased, Jagendra had posted messages on Facebook against the minister and regarding his alleged involvement in illegal mining and land grabbing.

The family alleged that during a raid at the journalist’s house at Awas Vikas colony in Sadar Bazar area of Shahjahanpur on June 1, police officials set him afire, following which he was taken to a hospital in Lucknow.

Before his death, Jagendra had accused Verma of “unleashing” a reign of terror on him and his family for his investigative reports and comments against the minister.

The journalist had alleged earlier that he sustained burn injuries during a raid by Inspector Sri Prakash Rai at his house.

He told Inspector General (Civil Defence) Amitabh Thakur two days ago at the civil hospital here that he was also attacked on April 28 near his house by the minister’s henchmen but no action was taken in the case.

“He told me he was hounded for exposing Verma’s alleged involvement in illegal mining and forced occupation of land,” Thakur said.


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