LUCKNOW: All the six accused in the murder case of TV journalist Ratan Singh were arrested. The journalist was killed in his village Phephna under the Phephna police station area in Ballia district on late Monday night.
Phephna station officer Shashi Mauli Pandey has been suspended for dereliction of duty.
The district police had arrested three main murder accused – Arvind Singh, Dinesh Singh, and Sunil Singh – on Monday night. Rest of the three accused -- Susheel Singh, Veer Bahadur Singh, and Vinay Singh -- were held on Tuesday. In all 10 persons were booked for the murder of the Ratan Singh. Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Awasthi, confirmed that six persons were arrested in the case so far.
Taking cognizance of the incident, UP CM Yogi Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the bereaved family. The CM has issued directives to the district police administration to bring the culprits to books at the earliest.
The CM also directed the district police chief Devendra Nath to probe the role of local police personnel and take strict action against them if found slacking in the discharge of duty.
The Ballia police have been claiming that the journalist was murdered over an ongoing land dispute by his neighbours.
ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar said that Ratan had a land dispute with his neighbour Dinesh Singh. “On Monday, the two had a verbal dual which later took an ugly turn when Dinesh shot Ratan and fled away,” said Kumar.
However, DIG, Azamgarh Range, Subash Chandra Dubey said: “Preliminary probe has suggested that the two parties had fought over a piece of land in their village in December 2019. Both the parties had lodged FIRs in the case. However, after the investigation into the case, Ratan Singh’s name was removed from the FIR.” He added that on Monday there was a verbal spat when the victim was beaten up when he placed his haystack on a plot.
To save his life, the scribe ran away from the scene. The miscreants chased and shot at him. The DIG clarified that the murder was not a result of any story or report covered or shown by the journalist.
Deceased Ratan Singh’s father Vinod Singh, however, denied that the issue of keeping haystack on the plot led to the killing of his son. He claimed that a person named Sonu Singh (known to the family) took Ratan along to his house where all the assailants were ready rods, sticks, and firearm. “First they thrashed Ratan with rods and sticks.
To save his life, Ratan ran away from the scene and took shelter in the house of village head Seema Singh. But the assailants chased him and shot him dead inside the house of the village head,” said the bereaved father. He added that his elder son was also killed by the same party two years ago.
The Ballia SP claimed that the complaint submitted by the family of the deceased named 10 people. “Of 10, six have been arrested and rest four will also be nabbed soon,” the SP said, adding that the killers would be slapped with Gangster Act and National Security Act could also be invoked against them.