On the evening of June 13, 2021, Sulabh Srivastava, a reporter with the privately owned Indian broadcasters ABP News and ABP Ganga, was declared dead at a hospital in the Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, shortly after local laborers found his body near a brick kiln, according to news reports.
Police initially said that he died in a motorcycle accident on his way home after reporting, but following a postmortem inspection and reports that he had been threatened for his recent work, police announced that they were opening a criminal investigation into his death, according to news reports and a police press release, which CPJ reviewed.
CPJ emailed Uttar Pradesh Police Director General Mukul Goel for comment regarding the status of the investigation, but did not receive any reply.
The day before his death, Srivastava had filed a complaint to police over threats he received in response to his June 9 reporting on a criminal liquor-selling group, according to reports by The Hindu and The Wire. In his complaint, which was addressed to the Prayagraj zone additional director general of police, Srivastava claimed that he was being followed and that he had heard from his sources that the criminal group was planning to harm him for his reporting, according to those reports.
Renuka Srivastava, the journalist’s wife, also said that he had received threats in the days leading to his death, according to reports. Viresh Pandey, head of ABP News Ganga, did not respond to CPJ’s call or texts requesting comment via messaging app.