A journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Madhya Pradesh was run over by a truck in Bhind district on Monday morning.
The 35-year-old journalist identified as Sandeep Sharma was riding a bike when he was hit by a truck coming from behind him at around 9 am.
Cops from a nearby police station immediately rushed him to the hospital where he was reportedly declared brought dead. The driver of the truck is believed to be absconding.
According to reports, Sharma, who worked for a news channel, had earlier complained to the police regarding threat to life from a cop following a sting operation which allegedly showed the cop accepting bribe from the mafia.
Police are now scanning CCTV footages to find and arrest the driver.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his grief at the passing of the journalist.
“भिंड में पत्रकार संदीप शर्मा की सड़क दुर्घटना में मृत्यु की दुखद खबर मिली। ईश्वर से प्रार्थना है कि दिवंगत आत्मा को शांति प्रदान करें।”: मुख्यमंत्री @ChouhanShivraj
— CMO Madhya Pradesh (@CMMadhyaPradesh) March 26, 2018
The CM has reportedly said that strict action will be taken against the guilty and that his government accords priority to security of journalists.
Bhind press club president Sathyanarayan Sharma too reportedly called Sharma’s death as “highly suspicious” and demanded a probe.
The district SP has constituted an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to probe the matter.
But Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia demanded a CBI probe into the death of the journalist.
“This is a very serious matter which should be probed by the CBI urgently. Illegal sand mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh are becoming emboldened while the state government looks the other way,” he said.
मप्र के भिंड में रेत माफिया और पुलिस गठजोड़ का पर्दाफ़ाश करने वाले पत्रकार की डंपर से कुचलकर हत्या- यह अत्यंत गंभीर एवं संदिग्ध मामला है जिसकी तत्काल CBI जाँच होनी चाहिए। मप्र में निडर खनन माफिया के हौंसले बढ़ते जा रहे है और निःसहाय सरकार आंख मूंद कर बैठी है। https://t.co/mcqpRjoK0W
— Jyotiraditya Scindia (@JM_Scindia) March 26, 2018
Sharma is survived by his wife and two children aged 14 and 15. Reports say that his brother attained martyrdom fighting terrorists in Kashmir on 22 April 2004.
This is not the first death in connection to the mafia. On 8 March 2012, a 30-year-old IPS officer was brutally crushed to death under a stone-laden tractor trolley belonging to the illegal mining mafia in Banmur in the Chambal district of Morena.
Sharma’s death is the third of a journalist since Saturday. Two scribes were killed in Bihar on Saturday night when they were run over by a car. The families of the deceased have alleged that the two were murdered by a former village head.