Chandan Tiwari, a local reporter with Hindi daily Aj in Jharkhand’s Chatra district, was abducted and badly beaten on October 29, 2018. Police said the reporter was found injured in a forest about 175 miles from Pathalgada, in Jharkhand. He succumbed to his injuries the next day, according to NDTV.
Jharkhand police identified four people–Maoist area commander Prasant, Pintu Singh, Jamuna Prasad, and Musafir Rana–as suspects who abducted and killed the journalist. Police arrested Prasant, Prasad, and Rana, but Singh remained free as of December 2018. The First Information Report filed by the police–which has been reviewed by CPJ–names all four suspects.
Local reporters told CPJ that Maoists run a criminal network in the area, and that Singh is part of this network.
According to a report in Dainik Bhaskar, police claim that Singh targeted Tiwari for alleging financial irregularities in Singh’s role as a private contractor for a government-funded program to support rural employment. On April 2, 2018, Tiwari published a story about Singh’s alleged corruption; and also posted about it on his Facebook page. Chatra police superintendent Akhilesh B. Variar told Dainik Bhaskar that Singh plotted against Tiwari because of the financial loss he incurred from Tiwari’s reporting.
Tiwari’s editor, Amit Kumar Agrawal, told CPJ that the slain reporter had filed a complaint on April 6, 2018, with the police about a possible threat to his life. A copy of the complaint is available on Tiwari’s Facebook page. Agrawal also told NDTV that police did not act on the complaint.
As of late 2018, police had not filed a charge sheet in the case. When reached by phone by CPJ for comment on the case, Variar asked to be contacted by email. As of late 2018, Variar had not responded to questions via email.