Akhilesh Pratap, a district correspondent for the regional Hindi language news channel Taaza TV in Chatra, Jharkhand state, was returning home on his motorcycle at night when unidentified gunmen shot him three times, before fleeing, according to local media reports. Pratap, better known locally as Indra Dev, died before reaching the hospital. He was known locally for his critical reporting on corruption in the implementation of government projects in the region and had also worked for print outlets in the past, according to a statement by Human Rights Defenders Alert, a Chennai-based human rights organization.
The motive behind Pratap’s killing was not immediately clear. Local police Deputy Inspector General Upendra Prasad told reporters: “We have formed at least three teams to unravel the incident. The forensic team has also visited the spot.”
A few days following the killing, police said they arrested two men after they were able to identify the gunmen on the basis of CCTV footage, reports said. A preliminary investigation by police found that Pratap, in addition his journalism, also worked as a contractor on rural electricity projects, reports said. Police believed a dispute in connection to his contract work may have been the motive behind his murder, reports said.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das of Jharkhand state announced compensation of Rs. 500,000 (US $7500) for the family, according to press reports.