Kishore Dave, bureau chief for the regional daily Jai Hind newspaper, was found dead in his office at around 9:30 p.m. after sustaining six to seven stab wounds to the chest, according to local media reports. The reports said his news assistant informed police of the fatal attack.
The motive behind Dave’s killing was not immediately clear. Dave’s family claimed that his reporting on sexual harassment allegations against a local politician, Ratilal Suraj, was a likely motivation for the attack.
Dave’s brother, Prakash Dave, told reporters that Suraj had filed defamation charges over Dave’s coverage of the allegations and that the two had been “clashing” since the complaint was filed. He said Dave had received death threats from local “leaders” that the family had reported to police before his murder.
Suraj, who is a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), denied the family’s allegations, including accusations that his son was the perpetrator of the attack, according to news reports. Reports said Suraj’s son had gone “missing” days after the attack.
Police Superintendent Nilesh Jajadiya told reporters that the attack was likely motivated by “personal enmity.” On August 24, police arrested three suspects identified as Firoz Kasambhai Hala, Sanjay Rama Rathod, and Arif Alam Saiyed for alleged involvement in Dave’s murder, news reports said.
Police Inspector M M Makwana said that Dave was involved in a transport business with the accused and that Dave was murdered in a dispute over money, the reports said. Makwana told reporters the three suspects were apprehended based on CCTV footage that captured them riding motorcycles near Dave’s office around the time of the crime.
News reports said there were no surveillance cameras in Dave’s one-room office and that there were no witnesses to the murder. The broadcaster NDTV, citing senior police official Jajadiya, reported that the three had confessed to the crime, and that they had burnt Dave’s blood-soaked clothes to eliminate incriminating evidence. Police also said they had recovered pieces of Dave’s broken mobile phone from the accused.
CPJ was unable to confirm that the three suspects had actually confessed to the crime.