Azharuddim Beg alias Laddan Mian, the prime suspect and conspirator in the killing of Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan surrendered to police on Thursday morning.
Laddan, who had been eluding capture since the murder took place on May 13, was forced to surrender as police sealed district borders and intensified their manhunt for him, Siwan superintendent of police, Saurabh Kumar Sah, said. Police had been conducting raids across several districts in Bihar and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh to catch Laddan.
When they produce him in court, police intend on pleading for a 15-day remand to interrogate Laddan and corroborate evidence.
Police arrested five people less than a week ago, including one Rohit Kumar, who, they claimed, confessed to carrying out the murder of Ranjan.
Senior journalist Ranjan was shot dead last month near the Siwan railway station at close range. The 42-year-old was the bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, a sister concern of Hindustan Times.
Laddan, who had been released from Siwan jail 15 days before Ranjan’s murder, fled from Siwan with his family just two hours after the crime. His is considered to be a close aide of former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP, Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is currently serving a life sentence for the abduction and murder of two people in 2004.
Shahabuddin, who was earlier lodged in Siwan jail, was shifted to Bhagalpur central prison after subtle links connected him to the case. Investigations indicated that kill orders for Ranjan had come from inside Siwan jail.
Police claimed they arrested 10 of 20 people close to Laddan who knew of the murder conspiracy. Though the CBI is set to take over investigations, police are keen to question Laddan to confirm their findings.
According to police sources, Laddan had been bailed out of jail a few months ago, leading to suspicions that he was offered a contract for the killing. Laddan used to be a sharpshooter for Shahabuddin who still holds considerable influence in the area.
Authorities have been under pressure to solve the case as political opponents of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar claimed a return of the 90s’ jungle raj.
Police attach Laddan’s property, family file case
Sah said police had on Wednesday attached properties of Laddan to the case, leading to three of his sisters moving the chief judicial magistrate court, claiming they had joint claim to the two houses owned by Laddan in Siwan town.
“Their argument needs to be heard before passing of any order,” Laddan’s family lawyer said, presenting a copy of the land registration as evidence.
The court accepted the petition of Laddan’s sisters and sought a report from the circle officer in this regard, putting the attachment orders in abeyance.
Another case filed by Laddan will come up before the high court on Thursday. Laddan had filed a habeas corpus in the high court alleging a threat to his life and “’illegal confinement of his wife” after police arrested five suspected in taking part in the shooting.
The bench of chief justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh sought replies from the director general of police and Siwan superintendent and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.