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Friday, July 23, 2021

UP journalist death: Cops file murder case after wife says he feared for life

The murder case was registered after the journalist's wife alleged that he feared for his life following a recent news report on liquor mafia that he did, and had written to senior officials two days ago demanding security.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
Updated: June 15, 2021 5:31:13 am
UP journalist death: Priyanka writes to CM Adityanath; demands CBI probeJournalist Sulabh Srivastava died under "mysterious circumstances" on the night of June 13 in Pratapgarh district while he was returning home after news coverage, Priyanka Gandhi told Adityanath. (File photo)

POLICE ON Monday registered a murder case in connection with the death of a 42-year-old Prayagraj-based television journalist – after initially claiming it to be a prima-facie case of accident. The murder case was registered after the journalist’s wife alleged that he feared for his life following a recent news report on liquor mafia that he did, and had written to senior officials two days ago demanding security.

Sulabh Srivastava, who worked with ABP news channel, was found seriously injured near a brick kiln late Sunday night. “He had gone for news coverage to the Kotwali Lalganj area on Sunday and was returning home late at night. He was found seriously injured near the Sukhpal Nagar brick kiln and was taken to the district hospital, where doctors declared him dead,” Pratapgarh SP Akash Tomar told reporters.

According to the police, Srivastava’s motorcycle crashed into a pole near the brick kiln.

Later in the day, asked about the autopsy report, Tomar told The Indian Express, “The cause of death is due to shock and hemorrhage due to anti-mortem injuries. There is contusion near the forehead and another contusion between the kidney and the spleen. There is no sharp or blunt injury.”

“While prima facie it appears to be an accident, we would investigate on all aspects,” he said.

Earlier, Additional SP Surendra Dwivedi said Srivastava died in a crash while returning from Asrahi village under the Lalganj police station area after reporting on an illegal arms manufacturing unit which was busted there.

The journalist’s wife, Renuka Srivastava, told The Indian Express, “He was troubled for past 3-4 days. He had reported some news and had been worried since then. It was raining heavily [on Sunday] but still when he got a call about some police raid, he left the house despite me and my daughter asking him not to.”

“I am not taking any name as I do not know what exactly happened but his jeans was down and his shirt was open [when he was found]… It does not appear to be a simple accident so all I want is justice for my husband even if it means a CBI level inquiry,” said Renuka, a mother of two.

In her complaint to the police, she said her husband was had been getting threats ever since he did a news story on the liquor mafia about which he had informed the Additional DGP, Prayagraj as well as incharge SP Pratapgarh.

Confirming that he had received the message from Srivastava, but only on Sunday, Additional DGP, Prayagraj, Prem Prakash, told reporters, “One application was given by him on WhatsApp around 1.41 pm and he was connected to incharge SP.”

Prakash, who also met the family, said prima facie there is no evidence of murder but action will be taken when facts emerge.

Based on Renuka’s complaint, an FIR has been registered under Sections 302 and 506 of the IPC against “unidentified” people.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders and a BJP MP raised questions on Srivastava’s death, with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav demanding a probe.

BJP MP Sangam Lal Gupta, who represents Pratapgarh, said the journalist’s death raises several questions as it occurred just a few days after he “fearlessly reported on the liquor mafia”. Gupta sought action against the culprits and financial help for Srivastava’s family.

“Shocked at the demise of ABP journalist Sulabh Srivastava in Uttar Pradesh…Sad to see that despite ‘democracy and freedom’ being part of our ethos, we are unable to save lives who are working tirelessly towards unfolding the truth,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Akhilesh, a former CM, asked the state government why Srivastava had not been provided security although he had expressed fear for his life from the liquor mafia.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra targeted the Yogi Adityanath government. “From Aligarh to Pratapgarh, the liquor mafia is playing with lives…The government is sleeping” she wrote on social media.

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