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Charred remains of missing RTI activist found in forest; 4 arrested for murder

Charred remains of missing RTI activist found in forest; 4 arrested for murder

Charred skeletal remains of a missing Right to Information (RTI) activist have been found in the forest in Chhattisgarh`s Kabirdham district and four persons have been arrested for the alleged murder, police said on Saturday.

The accused also buried the victim`s motorcycle to conceal the offence, they said.

Vivek Chaubey (32), an RTI activist who also worked as a journalist for a local newspaper, left his home in Kawardha town on November 12 and did not return.

A missing person complaint was registered on November 16 at the local police station, Kabirdham district Superintendent of Police Lal Umed Singh said.

Chaubey had been last seen heading towards Kundapani village, so 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-hit region along the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh border.

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“In the meanwhile, the sarpanch of Bokkarkhar village, now one of the accused, also announced a cash reward for information about Chaubey, which made police suspicious,” the SP said.

Subsequently, based on a tip-off, fully burnt skeletal remains were recovered in the forest near Kundapani.

Forensic tests confirmed that it belonged to an adult male, Singh said.

During interrogation, the Sarpanch and his three associates confessed to have committed the murder following which they were arrested on Friday, he said.

“In his statement, the accused sarpanch said Chaubey was with him till late on November 12 night. An argument broke out between them, following which he hit Chaubey on the head with a stick, leading to his death,” the SP said.

“The four accused then took the body into the jungle and burnt it using wood. They also dismantled the victim`s motorcycle in three parts and buried it in the forest and kept his mobile phone with them,” Singh added.

They also tried to mislead police by making calls from Chaubey`s phone from different places to make it look like he was alive and on the move, the senior official said.

A case has been registered and further investigation is underway, the SP added.

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