Mystery Shrouds Death Of Journalist In Kerala; He Was In Hot Pursuit Of The Gold Smuggling Case

Mystery Shrouds Death Of Journalist In Kerala; He Was In Hot Pursuit Of The Gold Smuggling CaseRepresentative image (Freepik)
Snapshot
  • An impartial probe is being demanded by various organisations, including the International Federation of Journalists to investigate the suspicious circumstances in which Pradeep was killed.

Mystery shrouds the death of a journalist, S V Pradeep, in Kerala, who had been in hot pursuit of the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, with his wife expressing disappointment over the preliminary findings of the police.

Pradeep died on 14 December after the two-wheeler in which he was travelling was hit from behind by an unidentified vehicle on the national highway at Pappanamcode in Thiruvananthapuram.

While the vehicle did not stop after crushing Pradeep, the journalist was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The journalist, who was working with an online website after having worked in various mainstream media channels, had done several investigative reports on the Kerala gold smuggling case in which leads have gone up to the staff of State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

A bitter critic of the Communists and Muslim League, Pradeep had filed a petition in courts, demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into a sexual harassment case involving State Transport Minister AK Saseendran.

Saseendran had to quit in 2017 but was made minister again after he was acquitted for lack of evidence in January 2018. Pradeep had chosen to appeal against this in court.

The journalist’s wife, Sreeja, said her husband had been under tremendous pressure to withdraw the plea for a CBI investigation. She said after she had been told that the petition was withdrawn after his death.

His mother told the media that Pradeep was facing threats in connection with his various news reports.

Preliminary findings of the police ruled out any suspicion over Pradeep’s death but his wife said she suspected if the mishap that killed her husband was indeed genuine.

She said the police were more focussed on the driver and demanded a high-level investigation.

On its part, a special team of Kerala police is trying to recreate the scene of the mishap to find out if there is any foul play. The vehicle, a sand-laden lorry, is yet to be traced.

An impartial probe is being demanded by various organisations, including the International Federation of Journalists to investigate the suspicious circumstances in which Pradeep was killed.

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