Three persons accused in the stoning and burning of a BJP worker in Jharkhand's Simdega district for allegedly illegally felling trees, which is against local tribal traditions, have been arrested, a police office said on Saturday.
32-year-old Sanju Pradhan was stoned to death and his body set on fire by a mob barely 100 metres from his home near Besrajara Bazar in Kolebira police station area on January 4.
The three persons were arrested on Friday, taking the total number of those apprehended in the case to 12, the police officer said.
Village headman Subun Bud, the prime accused in the case, was arrested on January 9 following a massive manhunt.
As per the deceased's family, the village headman had convened a meeting prior to Pradhan's killing and called him out of his house, and started beating him, which sparked the mob fury. A case had been registered against 13 identified and 25 unknown people for murder, rioting with deadly weapons, and unlawful assembly.
The deceased's wife had alleged that police officers present on the spot did nothing to save Pradhan, while the law enforcers claimed that a 1,000-strong mob involved in the incident stopped them from reaching the spot and they managed to retrieve the burnt body after facing stiff resistance from locals.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren had asked Simdega officials to investigate the matter and inform him, while BJP leaders including party's state chief Deepak Prakash, Union minister Arjun Munda and former chief minister Raghubar Das had condemned the incident and alleged that lawlessness prevails in the state.
Pradhan's family members had met Governor Ramesh Bais recently to demand a CBI probe into the matter.