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Burnt body of abducted journalist found in Bihar’s Madhubani district

Buddhinath Jha alias Avinash Jha was working with a local news portal and was exposing fake medical clinics and nursing homes in Benipatti, Madhubani district.

November 14, 2021 01:21 pm | Updated 01:21 pm IST - Patna:

The charred body of a journalist and Right to Information activist who was kidnapped four days ago was found on November 12 by the roadside in Madhubani district of Bihar.

Local police have taken some people into custody and are investigating the case.

The journalist, Buddhinath Jha alias Avinash Jha, was working with a local news portal and was exposing fake medical clinics and nursing homes of his area, Benipatti in Madhubani district.

He was also working as an RTI activist and getting details of such illegal private medical clinics and pathological laboratories to write on his portal.

His recent stories had led to the closure of at least four illegal private clinics and nursing homes and imposition of fine of ₹50,000 on other clinics.

Death threats

Family members said he had been receiving death threats and offers of bribe. “Through his expose in news reports, several owners of illegal private clinics and labs were annoyed and he was getting threats and lure of bribe as well,” said his brother Chandrashekhar Jha.

He had gone missing on November 9 night and his body was found from a roadside ditch near Betoun village, five km away from his residence at Lohia Chowk in Benipatti on November 12.

He was last seen in a CCTV footage at 9.58 p.m. on November 9 leaving his home while speaking to someone on his mobile phone.

His family identified the body by a ring on the finger and chain around his neck. Last rites were performed after the post-mortem on November 13 evening.

“It seems he was killed somewhere else and his body was burned at the place where it was found as the grass there too were found burnt. Two persons have been detained in the case and we’re conducting raids to nab the killers,” said a s senior police officer of Madhubani.

“He [Buddhinath Jha] has been exposing fake medical clinics in the area for last three years which had led to the closure of several of them and fine was also imposed on others,” said his elder brother Trilok Jha.

“It appears he was killed by those running such fake nursing homes and medical clinics and nursing grudge against him,” he alleged.

Buddhinath Jha had regularly been writing and exposing fake nursing homes, medical clinics and pathological labs, said Madhubani civil surgeon Sunil Kumar Jha.

“We’re investigating the case from all points and conducting regular raids. Some people have also been taken into custody,” Arvind Kumar, in-charge of Benipatti police station said.

In the last 11 years, as many as 20 RTI activists have been killed in Bihar.

“It is very difficult time for RTI activists and local journalists in Bihar working on the ground to expose local level corruption,” RTI activist Mahendra Yadav told The Hindu.

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