Journalist's death in Maharashtra: Murder charge invoked against accused 

Media organisations claimed local land dealer Amberkar crushed the journalist 's bike under his car since he had written against him for supporting the proposed Ratnagiri refinery project.

Published: 08th February 2023 05:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2023 06:39 PM   |  A+A-

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MUMBAI: A case of murder was registered on Wednesday against a land dealer, said to be a supporter of an ambitious but controversial refinery project, for allegedly mowing down a journalist with his car in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district.

Shashikant Warishe, who wrote for Marathi newspapers, died at a hospital in Kolhapur on Tuesday after an SUV allegedly driven by Pandharinath Amberkar hit his two-wheeler at a petrol pump in Rajapur area on Monday.

Several media organisations had demanded a probe into Warishe's death, claiming that he had written against Amberkar.

Amberkar (42) was arrested on Tuesday under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

Police have now also added section 302 (murder) to the FIR, an official said. A local court has remanded him in police custody till February 13. Police are investigating the exact motive behind the alleged murder, the official added.

Earlier, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Patrakar Parishad, a federation of Marathi journalists, had met Maharashtra Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis and sought a probe into Warishe's death.

The Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical project, earlier proposed to be built at Nanar village in Ratnagiri district in coastal Konkan, was scrapped before the 2019 polls at the instance of the Shiv Sena, the then alliance partner of the ruling BJP.

The Union government had last year hinted at its revival.

Meanwhile, the People's Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), a human rights organization, on Wednesday demanded a "totally independent" and "free of any influence" probe and compensation for the slain journalist's family.

The Maharashtra government should stop any attempt to influence the investigation politically, it said. It also demanded that the government should ensure the safety of Warishe's family as well as the witnesses in the case.

"The government should desist from setting up or allowing polluting industries that endanger the ecosystem of the Konkan," the PUCL statement added.


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