The charred remains of a missing Right to Information (RTI) activist have been found in a forest in Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district and four people have been arrested for his alleged murder, police said on Saturday.
The accused also buried the victim’s motorcycle to hide the crime, they said.
Vivek Chaubey (32), an RTI activist who also worked as a journalist in a local newspaper, left his home in Kawardha village on November 12 and did not return.
A missing person’s complaint was registered at the local police station on November 16, Kabirdham District Superintendent of Police Lal Umed Singh said.
Mr. Chaubey was last seen heading towards Kundapani village, so the police launched a search for him in that area. A cash reward was also announced for information about him, the SP said.
The area is close to the Maoist-influenced region along the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh border.
“Meanwhile, the village sarpanch of Bokkarkhar, now one of the accused, also announced a cash reward for information about Mr. Chaubey, which made the police a suspect,” the SP said.
Then, based on a review, completely burnt skeletal remains were recovered from the forest near Kundapani.
Forensic tests confirmed it belonged to an adult male, Singh said.
During interrogation, the Sarpanch and his three associates confessed to the murder, after which they were arrested on Friday, he said.
“In his statement, the accused sarpanch said that Mr. Chaubey was with him till the night of November 12. An argument broke out between them, after which he hit Mr. Chaubey on the head with a stick, leading to his death,” the SP said. .
“The four accused then took the body to the jungle and burnt it using wood. They dismantled the victim’s motorcycle into three pieces and buried it in the forest and kept the mobile phone with them,” Singh added.
They also tried to mislead the police by making calls from various locations on Mr. Chaubey’s phone to make it appear that he was alive and moving, the senior official said.
A case has been registered and further investigations are underway, the SP added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)
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