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3 held for killing U.P. journalist, friend; police say accused used sanitiser to set room on fire

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Days after Balrampur journalist Rakesh Singh and his friend were charred to death in his room, police on Tuesday said an alcohol-based sanitiser was used to set their room on fire and murder them.

The police have arrested three persons accused of the double murder.

A journalist working with Hindi newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop, Rakesh Singh ‘Nirbheek’ was charred to death in his room in Kawalri village under suspicious circumstances in Balrampur district on November 27. His friend Pintu Sahu died on the spot, while Singh succumbed to his burn injuries at a hospital.

Balrampur SP Dev Ranjan Verma said the accused tried to project the fire as an accident. But there were several inconsistencies, which made it clear that there was a conspiracy behind the incident, the officer said, claiming to have cracked the case.

Mr. Verma said the police had uncovered two motives for the murders. Singh had recently written about the misappropriation of funds by the local pradhan, he said. Also, Sahu, the scribe’s friend, was involved in an ongoing dispute with one of the accused, Lalit Mishra, over the payment for a car purchased by the latter.

On November 27 evening, Sahu and Mishra got into an altercation outside a bar over the payment for the car, said police. A few hours later, Sahu reached Singh’s house in an inebriated state. Rinku Mishra, Pradhan Sushila’s son, reached the house offering to reconcile and got the scribe and Sahu inebriated, said police.

Following this, one of the accused identified as Akram sprayed an alcohol-based sanitiser on the scribe and set the room on fire, said the officer. They also locked the door.

Akram, a friend of Lalit’s, was in 2015 accused of burning a woman to death in Sravasti, said Mr. Verma. “It is also said that Akram is an expert at pyrotechnics,” said the officer.

Mr. Verma said they found no evidence to show that explosives were used to set the room on fire. “We inspected the crime spot minutely but there were no signs of any blast. The gas cylinder was found intact in the kitchen. The screens of two computers were also found intact,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 5:49:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/3-held-for-killing-up-journalist-friend-police-say-accused-used-sanitiser-to-set-room-on-fire/article33220517.ece

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