NEW DELHI: Relatives of Hemchandra Pandey, the man killed along with CPI (Maoist) leader Cherkuri Rajkumar alias Azad in an alleged encounter in Andhra Pradesh, described him as a freelance journalist on Saturday.At least a couple of Delhi newsmen too remembered Pandey as a struggling journalist who wrote on social issues, but the paper he was supposed to have worked for denied it."My husband was an honest freelance journalist who wrote on social issues for Nai Duniya, Rashtriya Sahara and Jagran. They (AP police) killed my husband brutally in a stage-managed encounter, I'll not spare them for this vicious act," said Babita, Pandey's wife, restraining her tears. However, Nai Duniya's editor Alok Mehta said, "No person called Hemchandra Pandey had ever contributed to our paper in any manner." Flanked by human rights activists and her brother Vijay Vardhan Upreti, also a journalist, Babita recalled that Pandey had told her on June 30 that he was going to Nagpur to do a story. "He promised to return on July 2. He was there perhaps to interview Azad. But that was not to be. Please expose this terror unleashed by the State on sincere people," she pleaded. "This encounter makes it apparent that the State doesn't want peace but is only interested in exploiting mineral resources. It is because of this greed that Babita has lost her husband," former SC/ST commissioner of Bastar B D Sharma alleged. Babita identified Pandey through a photograph published in Eenadu. She is expected to reach Adilabad on Sunday.The rights activists termed the killing of Azad as a big blow to the possible peace talks which the Maoist leader was pursuing vigorously. "Azad was the one who acknowledged and appreciated our Peace March from Raipur to Dantewada. He was the one who responded to Home Minister P Chidambaram's call for peace talks almost immediately. We understand that he was picked up by the police when he was heading to Dandakaranya forests to discuss peace talks with his comrades," said Professor Banwarilal Sharma of the Campaign for Peace and Justice.The Campaign, signed by Medha Patkar, Dr V N Sharma and other social activists, demanded an independent enquiry into the killing of Azad and Pandey.ENS adds from Hyderabad: Pandey was from Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and was a resident of Haldwani area in Nainital. Pithoragarh SP Nilesh Anand Pandey said, "Pandey had started a magazine called Karwan and was its editor. He did his diploma in journalism from Gadhwal University in Srinagar (Uttarakhand)." The SP further said Pandey had graduated in Economics from Pithoragarh College. "For some time, he worked in the Uttarakhand Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and later started Karwan from Almora," he said. A different picture emerges from what Nainital SP Mohan Singh Bangyal told this paper. Confirming that Pandey had worked for a channel for some time, Bangyal said the police had no information of his involvement in illegal activities.