Pandey, a crime reporter for the Hindi-language daily Jansatta Express, was shot dead at point-blank range at around 10:30 p.m. in his home in the residential neighborhood of Gomtinagar, in Lucknow, according to police. At least six shots were fired at Pandey’s head and chest, and he apparently died instantly.
Jansatta Express editor Ghanshyam Pankaj told CPJ that because Pandey was reporting regularly on criminal gangs, it is likely that he was targeted because of his professional work. However, he was uncertain which articles might have prompted the assassination.
Local journalists complained that Gomtinagar police responded slowly to Pandey’s murder. Dozens of journalists staged an angry demonstration in the early morning hours of April 15, carrying Pandey’s body to Raj Bhawan, the official residence of Uttar Pradesh governor Vishnu Kant Shastri.
During the demonstration, a security official hit Manish Srivastava, a reporter at the newspaper Dainik Jagran, with a rifle butt, causing serious injuries.
In July, the national English-language daily Times of India reported that a suspect arrested in connection with a separate murder admitted that he had helped arrange Pandey’s assassination because the journalist had information about the people involved in the crime for which the gunman was originally detained. However, in late September, police arrested another individual who confessed involvement in Pandey’s murder, but this person suggested that the killing was prompted by a personal dispute.
The motive behind the journalist’s murder remained unclear at year’s end.