While two people have been arrested so far, the family demands that six more people behind the murder be arrested
The family members of local journalist Sandeep Kothari, who was burnt to death allegedly by three persons suspected to be closely linked to sand mafia, today refused to perform his last rites while demanding that six more persons behind the murder be arrested.
Two persons have so far been arrested in connection with the murder, police said.
The body was handed over to Kothari’s family members who left from Wardha at around midnight last night, Wardha’s Sindhi Police Station Inspector V V Mohurle told PTI.
The post-mortem was conducted at General Hospital in Wardha, he said, adding that a police team which was already camping in city for search and investigation also accompanied the body to his native place in Balaghat.
In Katangi, the deceased’s wailing family members demanded that the accused, “who are high and mighty,” should be arrested.
The journalist’s distraught father Prakash Chand Kothari and mother Kanchan Devi said they will perform their son’s last rites only when the police gives them an assurance about arresting six more persons allegedly behind the killing.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in MP Assembly Satyadev Katare in a press release said that Congress has constituted a three-member committee of MLAs to probe into the journalist’s death.
The committee is headed by convenor Madhu Bhagat and has Hina Kanvre and Sanjay Uikey, all MLAs from Balaghat district, as its members.
Kothari was burnt to death allegedly by three persons, suspected to be closely linked to sand mafia, who set him ablaze apparently over his refusal to withdraw a court case, the police had said.
The burnt body of Sandeep, who was abducted from Katangi tehsil three days back, was found lying near railway tracks at Sindhi town in Wardha district on Saturday night, they said.
Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Soni had earlier said that Kothari was out on bail for last two months in a rape case.
Past incidents which highlighted mining mafia raj in MP:
March 8, 2012: IPS Narendra Kumar killed
A young IPS officer of the 2009 batch, Narendra Kumar, was crushed to death under a stone-laden tractor trolley belonging to the illegal mining mafia in Morena. The incident happened in broad daylight in the presence of eyewitnesses and Kumar’s team of policemen. Kumar (30) was posted as SDOP (sub-divisional police officer), Banmur. The ghastly killing happened in Banmur industrial town, which is well known for stone-mining.
March 29, 2013: Mining officer Sanjay Bhargava killed in accident
Ratlam’s mining inspector Sanjay Bhargava, was killed in an accident on March 29 in Ujjain. He was involved in anti-mining operations, so his death was linked with the same illegal nexus. Neetu Bhargava, his wife a few months later had said that she has been offered Rs 25 lakh to withdraw the case of her husband’s death. Later on the Ujjain Police had claimed to have solved the ‘sensitive’ death case of Ratlam’s mining inspector Sanjay Bhargava.
Jan 10, 2014: Mining mafia set ablaze forest officer
Sand mafia had set ablaze forest deputy ranger Fulel Singh in Singrauli district. Posted in Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Singh had confiscated a tractor used in illegal mining of sand inside the reserve. The sand mafia goons later abducted him and thrashed him before setting him ablaze. The officer with 30% burn injuries in the incident was rushed to hospital later on.