According to police and onlookers, a Swaraj Mazda truck hit Pradeep’s two-wheeled vehicle which was travelling in the same direction near a Karakkamandapam traffic signal at 4pm. The driver did not stop the truck and sped from the scene. Pradeep was severely injured before later dying from the injuries he sustained. His body was taken to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
Local police said they are assessing all possibilities, including a targeted attack, and are focused on tracing the vehicle. It is yet to be located. A special investigation team was formed on December 15. No CCTV cameras were located in the area. The journalist’s family allege that Pradeep’s death may have been staged and demanded an enquiry. Both Pradeep’s mother and sister stated that he was regularly threatened on social media platforms due to his work. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief K Surendran also is also quoted as saying Pradeep was informed of important “secrets of those in power”.
The veteran journalist worked in several major media organisations including Media One, Manorama News, Jaihind, News 18 and Mangalam TV.
Pradeep is one of at least 10 journalists assassinated or killed under suspicious circumstances in India during 2020. On November 27, Rakesh Singh Nirbhek, a reporter for newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop, was killed in a targeted arson attack that destroyed his house, purportedly for reporting on corruption in Kalwari village. Senior journalist Parag Bhuyan was similarly fatally injured when a vehicle struck him from behind nearby his home.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Indian affiliates the National Union of Journalists, India (NUJ-I) and the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) are investigating the case to identify whether the killing was related to his work as journalist.