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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Executive from Radio Station in Nepal Found Dead in Neighbouring District in India

IPI Calls for Thorough Investigation 

Nepalese journalists stage a sit-in protest in front of a replica of a radio to protest the attack on one of the reporters for the "Nagarik" national daily paper Khilanath Dhakal in Kathmandu June 15, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

VIENNA, July 10, 2012 – Conflicting reports indicate that a media owner and managing director of a radio station in Nepal was found dead on July 7 in a neighbouring district in India.

The Press Trust of India reported that police said Santosh Gupta – managing director of the Birgunj-based Radio Bindaas FM, which Gupta founded only three months earlier – was run over by a speeding vehicle in the village of Misraulia in India’s Bihar state, which borders Nepal. The news agency also said that the one of Gupta’s relatives was injured in the incident.

However, The Himalayan Times said that police in Raxaul, India indicated that Gupta, 31 – who hailed from Raxaul, but who was reportedly believed to hold Nepali citizenship – “was discovered…with gunshot wounds in his neck”.

Taranath Dahal, chairman of the Nepalese press freedom group Freedom Forum and general secretary of the IPI National Committee in Nepal, said that his organisation is currently investigating Gupta’s death to establish whether it was related to his journalistic activity.

IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie commented: “IPI expresses its condolences to the family of Mr. Gupta. We urge the Indian authorities to launch a full scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.”

The circumstances behind Gupta’s death remain unclear. The Himalayan Times reported that Indian police voiced suspicion that Gupta was involved in smuggling fake currency and might have been gunned down by gang members. However, the Press Trust of India said that Gupta’s death came as he was on a visit to Motihari, India related to advertisements.