The burnt body of Sandeep Kothari, a local correspondent for a Jabalpur-based Hindi daily, was found near a railway track in Butibori area in Nagpur on June 20, 2015. According to police, Kothari, 40, was killed by individuals with connections to illegal mining in the area, a topic he had reported on. Police said they believed the men killed Kothari after he refused to withdraw cases filed with a local court related to illegal mining. Kothari had been kidnapped the previous night while riding his bike with a friend, who said the occupants of a vehicle abducted Kothari after the vehicle struck his bike.
Shortly after Kothari’s death, the Madhya Pradesh Police began publicising older criminal charges filed against the journalist, including charges of extortion, blackmail and sexual assault, some dating back 10 years. Some 25 cases were registered against the journalist, but he was only convicted of one, which a higher court later overturned. Kothari’s brother said that three men accused in Kothari’s murder were directly or indirectly involved in all of the cases against him. As of June 26, 2015, two of the three had been apprehended, but a third man remained on the run, and Kothari’s family stressed their belief that police harassment played a part in the earlier cases.