Patna/Bettiah: A right to information (RTI) activist who had exposed corruption in several government departments was gunned down by unidentified armed criminals in East Champaran on Tuesday.
Rajendra Prasad Singh, 63, had earned the wrath of many government officials for unearthing various scams and irregularities, including in police recruitment, PDS shops, toilet building scheme, health and education.
On April 4, Vaishali RTI activist Jayant Kumar was shot dead near Goroul, the finger of suspicion pointing to an influential liquor mafia.
East Champaran police said two assailants riding a motorcycle intercepted Rajendra, who was also on a two-wheeler, near Madhbanbari Chowk and pumped three bullets when he was returning to his village Manglapur from Motihari court around 12 noon.
Rajendra was rushed to the Motihari sadar hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Piprakothi police station house officer Abhishek Ranjan said two cellphones were seized from the spot.
“Raids are underway to nab the assailants,” the SHO told The Telegraph over phone.
Sources said Rajendra’s pursuit for the truth had led to many FIRs being lodged in the local court, with some cases now in the trial stage.
Sources said an FIR was lodged against then block education officer Parmanand Kumar for allegedly committing irregularities in the appointment of teachers in government schools. The block education officer was later arrested and sent to jail after the intervention of Patna High Court in November 2017.
The slain RTI activist’s son-in-law, R.K. Singh, who reached Motihari from Gopalganj, said Rajendra had sought police protection after three successive murderous attacks on him since 2012. However, he alleged, local police officials turned a deaf ear to his repeated requests.
Acting superintendent of police Kshatranil Singh sought to give a different spin to the murder. “Apart from being an RTI activist, Rajendra had running property-related disputes,” said Singh.
Following his personal investigations in many such scams, several FIRs had been registered with the interference of local courts and some cases even being put on trial recently, it was reported.
Meanwhile, the main Opposition party in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad Yadav, has blamed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of not been able to maintain law and order situation in the state and has sought a high level inquiry into the killing of the RTI activist, the report said.
A senior RJD leader Alok Mehta reportedly told the media persons in Patna that anyone standing up against corruption and wrongdoing was being targeted in the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government, said the report.