New Delhi: A 37-year-old journalist working with a Hindi newspaper was charred to death by three men, who allegedly barged into his home in a village in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh. Police said that the three culprits, including the son of a village Pradhan or chief, have been arrested. Reports claimed that the men used an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to set the journalist and his friend on fire. Also Read - Free Coaching to Uttar Pradesh Students For Many Competitive Exams From Basant Panchami: CM

The deceased Rakesh Singh Nirbhik (45), used to write for a Lucknow-based newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop. According to the reports, he and his friend Pintu Sahu (36) were found with severe burn injuries inside the journalist’s home. Both succumbed to their injuries at a hospital in  Lucknow. The journalist’s wife and children were at a relative’s house when the incident took place. Also Read - Married 10 times, 52-year-old Man in UP's Bareilly Murdered For Property

Speaking to hospital officials, before breathing his last, Nirbhik stated that he has been attacked because he was writing regularly against the allegedly corrupt Pradhan and her son. Also Read - Uttar Pradesh: Section 144 Imposed in Noida Till Jan 31; Protests, Private Drones Restricted

Addressing a press conference, Balrampur superintendent of police (SP) Dev Ranjan Verma said that personal rivalry was behind the murder. However, an investigation is still underway to understand all facts, he stated. “The accused were trying to cover up the crime by making it seem like an accident. But there were many loopholes and we understood this was a conspiracy,” NDTV quoted Verma as saying.

The district administration gave the deceased journalist’s wife a cheque of Rs 5 lakhs as a financial aid. She was assured of a job by Balrampur sugar mill management.