Laddan Miyan, the key accused in the Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case and close aide of former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, before the chief judicial magistrate in Siwan district court on Thursday. Reports suggest that police will soon start interrogating him to ascertain the motive behind the murder. He also claimed that he has no connection with the journalist and has been wrongly framed. The court sent Laddan to 14-day judicial custody.

The Bihar police had arrested five shooters involved in the murder of the journalist on 25 May.

Ranjan, Siwan bureau chief of Hindi newspaper Hindustan, which is part of HT Media, was shot dead at a busy market near Station Road on 14 May.

The police also recovered arms and motorcycles used by shooters and they believe that it was pre-planned.

The police had also raided Bihar’s Siwan jail and searched Shahabuddin’s cell after the BJP alleged the role of jailed former RJD MP in the murder of Rajdeo Ranjan.

Shahabuddin, a criminal-turned-politician, locally known as Bahubali, has been lodged in Siwan jail for over a decade. He was shifted twice to Bhagalpur and Gaya jail for brief periods.

Bihar Director General of Police PK Thakur had also said that police have identified the shooters involved in the killing of the journalist.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that if the grieving family insists, then he will recommend a CBI probe.

He told the media: “The killing of the journalist is an attack on me. We have not left any stone unturned. The investigation is being carried out with highest diligence. Those who committed this crime (will get the strictest punishment).”

Journalists across  the country termed the murder an “attack on the freedom of expression.” Journalists also urged the central and state governments to enact a law to protect them and ensure “adequate compensation” in case of their death or any untoward incident while on duty.

The Lalu-Rabri era is termed as the jungle raj in Bihar. Under the Nitish Kumar government, is it return of the jungle raj?

Firstpost‘s Sandipan Sharma previously wrote that though its not jungle raj yet, Bihar is on a dangerous crime curve. He wrote: “The murder of Hindustan bureau chief of Siwan, Rajdeo Ranjan is an indication that criminals are striking with impunity. Though police are yet to crack the case, the nature of the crime – police claim it was a planned hit job  suggests a dreaded don who is connected to the RJD could be behind the incident.”

According to an IndiaSpend report, in 2014, Bihar reported 1,77,595 cognizable crimes, while Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan recorded 2,72,423 and 2,10,418 such crimes, respectively. However, when it comes to the murder rate in Bihar, the number is higher than either MP, Rajasthan, Gujarat or Kerala. Under-reported cases could possibly one of the reasons why the figures for the overall crime rate is less than the other states.

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Siwan journalist murder case: Key accused Laddan Miyan surrenders