New Delhi: Days after a journalist in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district complained to the police about being threatened by the liquor mafia, he was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Sunday night.
Sulabh Srivastava, who worked for ABP News and ABP Ganga, had written a letter to the police just a day before his death, saying he was feeling threatened after his recent coverage of the liquor mafia.
The police, however, maintain that the journalist died in a motorcycle accident. “Mr Shrivastava was returning on his motorcycle after media coverage, at around 11 pm at night on Sunday. He fell from his motorcycle near a brick kiln. Some labourers lifted him from the road and then used his phone to call his friends, and they called an ambulance too. He was taken to the district hospital where the doctors declared him dead,” Surendra Dwivedi, a senior police official in Pratapgarh, said in a statement, according to NDTV.
“Initial investigations have revealed he was alone on his bike and fell after his bike collided with a handpump by the road. We are investigating other angles too,” Dwivedi continued.
In photos of the body from the crime scene, NDTV reported, Srivastava appears to have several injuries on his face. His clothes to have been unbuttoned and nearly removed.
In his letter to the police, that is now doing the rounds on social media, Srivastava had said he had been warned about the mafia’s intentions. “A report of mine against the liquor mafia in the district had run on the news portal run by my channel on June 9. Since then there has been a lot of buzz about this report. When I leave my home I feel as if someone is following me… I have heard through my sources the liquor mafia is unhappy with my reporting and can harm me. My family is also very worried.”
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has hit out at Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath after the incident, saying the government is allowing the liquor mafia to run scot free.
शराब माफिया अलीगढ़ से प्रतापगढ़ तक:पूरे प्रदेश में मौत का तांडव करें।
उप्र सरकार चुप।
पत्रकार सच्चाई उजागर करे, प्रशासन को खतरे के प्रति आगाह करे।
सरकार सोई है।
क्या जंगलराज को पालने-पोषने वाली उप्र सरकार के पास पत्रकार सुलभ श्रीवास्तव जी के परिजनों के आंसुओं का कोई जवाब है?
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) June 14, 2021
“The liquor mafia has killed from Aligarh to Pratapgarh but the UP government is silent. Journalists are asking dangerous questions to expose the truth. The government is asleep,” she tweeted in Hindi.
The Samajwadi Party too has demanded a high-level inquiry into the death. “The mysterious death of a TV reporter in an alleged accident is extremely sad. The BJP government in this case should constitute a high-level probe, and tell the family members and the public that despite the apprehension of murder by the liquor mafia expressed by the reporter, why he was not provided security,” SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.