Twelve days after the murder of an Orissa TV journalist, the police cracked the case on Sunday and arrested two of the four accused. P Shyam Sundar Prusty, owner of a cashew processing unit at Khallikote, and one of his accomplices, were arrested while two other accused are still at large.
Tarun Acharya (29), a stringer with Kanak TV, was on his way to home in Khallikote town of Ganjam district on May 27 night when assailants stopped his motorcycle and slit his throat. The police initially suspected Acharya’s brother-in-law to be behind the murder.
A few days before the murder, Acharya’s had published a report in Oriya daily Sambad about child labourers employed in Prusty’s factory. “The victim and the mastermind had old rivalries over trivial issues. After Acharya turned a stringer with Kanak TV, he reportedly threatened Prusty. He also reportedly used to abuse Prusty over phone. When the news of child labourers being employed was published, Prusty saw it as an attempt by Acharya to finish his business,” Ganjam SP Ashish Kumar Singh told The Indian Express.
Soon after the report was published, Prusty confided in three of his friends.
“They assured Prusty that Acharya would be cut to size. They were paid Rs 50,000 and were given three new SIM cards… they started tracking Acharya’s movements. On May 27 evening, one of the killers called the journalist over phone and spoke to him for 25 seconds,” Singh said. After the murder, the trio fled to Berhampur town.
While scanning the call records of the victim, the police found a connection between one of the numbers and Prusty.
“We started scanning the call records of Prusty and found that there were some calls between that number and Prusty’s. There were also two other numbers that Prusty was in touch with. We again interrogated Prusty and he confessed that he was the mastermind. He told us that he was distraught over the way the journalist harassed him. He thought his factory would close down,” an interrogating officer said.
The shop had stored over 20 drums of kerosene that fuelled the blaze and it quickly spread through the entire building.