Sudip Dutta Bhaumik, an investigative reporter at the Bengali-language daily Syandan Patrika, was shot outside the office of Tapan Debbarma, a commandant in Tripura State Rifles paramilitary force, according to media reports. A guard allegedly shot the journalist, according to reports.
Debbarma had invited the journalist to his office to speak with him about a clarification that the commandant wanted for a November 13, 2017 story Bhaumik wrote, alleging financial irregularities in the paramilitary force, according to a report in The Hindu. Subal Kumar Dey, editor of Syandan Patrika, told CPJ that witnesses told him that the journalist and commandant argued.
Abhijit Saptarishi, the police superintendent of West Tripura district, which has jurisdiction over the paramilitary, said that Nanda Reang, the guard who allegedly shot Bhaumik, has been detained, according to The Indian Express.
Police arrested Debbarma on November 22, 2017, according to the news website NDTV.
Subal Kumar Dey told CPJ in late November 2017 that Debbarma was charged with murder and criminal conspiracy.
Akhil Kumar Shukla, director-general of Tripura police, which has jurisdiction over the paramilitary told CPJ that he would not comment on the telephone about Debbarma’s status, saying only that the incident is under investigation.
Abhijit Saptarishi, police superintendent of West Tripura district, did not immediately respond to CPJ’s calls and messages seeking comment about the guard who allegedly shot the journalist.
On November 24, police arrested Head Constable Amit Debbarma and Rifleman Dharmendra Kumar Singh, and charged them with criminal conspiracy, according to a report on the Press Trust of India news agency website. A judicial magistrate’s court ordered Amit Debbarma and Dharmendra to be held in custody for seven days, pending the investigation, according to report on News18.
Dey told CPJ that Bhaumik had worked as an investigative journalist for the last 20 years, and specialized in exposing corruption in the police force. Previously he had written for local Bengali-language newspapers including Dainik Sambad and Aajker Fariad.