New Delhi: An Indian Right to Information (RTI) activist Bhupendra Veera, who launched multiple campaigns against illegal land dealings and construction in Mumbai, has been shot dead at his residence.
A former corporator from Congress party, Razzaq Khan, has been arrested along with his son for suspected involvement in the murder.
The slain activist Veera is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
According to police, some people had come to meet 61-year-old Veera on late Saturday night while his wife was in another room. Later his wife found him in a pool of blood sitting on the chair.
She raised an alarm and took Veera to local VN Desai Hospital where he was declared dead.
“My husband was watching television when the killer entered around 9 pm and shot him in the head. I was making dinner. The TV was on so I heard nothing. We absolutely know who committed the murder. We have told police about it. Lets see what they do about it,” Veera’s wife Khushboo told Gulf News.
Based on Khushboo’s complaint, the police filed a case against Khan, with whom the activist had several confrontations in the recent past.
“The man who barged into Veera’s house in Santacruz East, held a gun to Veera’s forehead and fired. The shooter fired at close range and at an angle between the open main door and the bedroom, where Veera was sitting. The bullet shot exited the other side of the head and has been recovered. The shooter is suspected to have used a silencer,” Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police Virendra Mishra told Gulf News.
Veera’s family said he received repeated threats and had registered several complaints with the local Vakola police station.
“My father-in-law was a saintly man. He was a crusader against corruption and had filed several complaints on illegal constructions against many persons, particularly Razzaq Khan. This actually cost him his life,” Veera’s daughter-in-law Sheela told Gulf News.
Activist and former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Anjali Damania, who had worked with Veera, told Gulf News he was murdered because of his fight against illegal constructions.
“Several other Right to Information activists have been threatened recently and they have informed the police of the same. It must be noted that Mr Veera had persuaded civic officials to take action against four illegal construction sites recently,” Damania said.
Veera turned into an RTI activist in 2010. Prior to that he ran a shop and was a partner in a steel company owned by his family.