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Abducted Journalist Found Dead in Bihar, Body Burned & Thrown on Roadside

Just two days before he was kidnapped, Avinash Jha had outed information about fake nursing homes.

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Edited By :Tania Thomas

Last spotted on Tuesday night, 9 November, journalist and RTI activist Avinash Jha was found dead on Friday, 12 November, when his body, burnt, and thrown on a roadside, was identified near a village in Bihar's Madhubani district.

Buddhinath Jha, alias Avinash Jha, was abducted from close to his residence in Lohia Chowk in Benipatti, just a few hundred metres away from the Benipatti police station. He was last seen in a CCTV footage around 10 pm.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested six people, including a woman, in connection with the case.

The 23-year-old was the youngest of the three brothers, and his eldest brother, Chandrashekhar Jha had lodged an FIR over the death.

Busted Fake Nursing Homes, Received Threats

Jha was a journalist associated with a local news portal, and just two days before his kidnapping, he had outed information about fake nursing homes through a Facebook post.

Due to his work, several facilities had to pay considerable fines and many establishments were even shut down. Jha received constant threats for his busts, and was offered lakhs in bribes.

On 9 November, the CCTV footage showed Jha walking out of his home many times and talking on the phone. The last time, Jha walked out of his house wearing a yellow scarf around his neck, and walked past Lohia Chowk, another house and the Benipatti police station. This was at 9:58 pm.

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The next day, with no trace of Jha, the family informed the police. Upon tracing his mobile, it was found that the device was turned on around 9 am on Wednesday, 10 November, in Betouna village, 5 km west of the Benipatti police station.

However, the police could not find Jha at the location. The search continued on Thursday, 11 November, with no success.

Search Goes Viral, Body Found

Meanwhile, Jha's disappearance caused an uproar on social media. Following this, on Friday, his cousin, BJ Vikas received a call that a body was found near the state highway passing through Betoun village.

Consequently, some relatives, along with the administration reached the spot where the body was identified by a ring on his finger, a mark on his leg, and a chain around his neck.

What Has the Police Said?

The police found out that Avinash had last talked to one Poornakala Devi at around 10 pm on his phone the night of his disappearance.

The police called Devi to the station on 11 November. She informed that the night she talked to Jha, she was at her parent’s house in Brahmpura. However, upon investigation, this was found to be false. Poornakala Devi was in Benipatti the night of the incident, the police said.

Later, Devi revealed that she had met Avinash Jha around 10 pm at Anurag Healthcare. When the two came out of the facility, five men were standing outside, waiting for Jha.

These five men included Roshan Kumar, Bittu Kumar Pandit, Deepak Kumar Pandit, Pawan Kumar Pandit, and Manish Kumar.

The men took Jha towards KK Chaudhary’s nursing home. Devi did not inform anyone of the incident. On 11 November, Devi did not inform the police about the incident either. She has been arrested, along with the men under sections 363, 365, 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code.

There is a lot of outrage in the area over the Jha's death, specially because the incident took place within half a km of the police station.

(With inputs from NDTV.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Bihar    Murder   Kidnapping 

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