BALAGHAT: 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 of the 40-year-old journalist was brought to Katangi town in Balaghat, from Wardha in Maharashtra at around 5 AM today. 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.