On the run for nearly a month, rape-accused former UP minister in Akhilesh government Gayatri Prajapati was arrested by Lucknow Police early Wednesday morning. He had been accused of gang raping a woman and her minor daughter in 2014 and the Uttar Pradesh police had filed non-bailable warrant against him. Six others accused in the case have already been nabbed in the case.
“Prajapati was arrested from Aashiyana area of the city early this morning,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Lucknow, Manzil Saini told the press.
“Lucknow Police collected important leads during the last three days. Acting on a tip off that he was going to surrender, police intercepted him early this morning,” Saini told giving details of Prajapati’s arrest.
On the questions of delay over his arrest, the police officer added, “Polls were a mere coincidence. Gayatri even gave a slip to his own security guards after polling and was not in touch with them. All along he was mobile and his locations were traced to Delhi, Gurugram and West Bengal.”
Soon after arrest, the 49-year-old SP leader was produced before a POCSO court in the city, which remanded him to 14-day judicial custody.
Prajapati was booked on a Supreme Court directive and an FIR was lodged on February 17 against him and six others for allegedly gang-raping a woman and alleged attempt to rape her minor daughter. The apex court had asked the UP Police to submit an action taken report regarding the incidents in eight weeks.
Reacting to his arrest, Prajapati claimed that he was “innocent” and a “conspiracy” is in place to “malign” him. Adding he was prepared for a NARCO test to bring out the truth, Prajapati demanded a NARCO test on the minor victim.
Meanwhile, DGP Javeed Ahmed said, “Gayatri Prajapati was arrested in Lucknow. He was constantly moving from one place to another all this while. This made the job of police more challenging.”
Claiming that a charge sheet will be filed within 15-20 days, the DGP also added that there was no political pressure on the police to allow the minister go scot free.
The police had on Tuesday interrogated the SP leader’s two sons and nephew to get some inputs regarding his whereabouts. Police were also set to move court to seek permission to attach his properties.
A Look Out notice was also issued against him as also a Non-Bailable Warrant. His passport too was impounded. Airports across the country had been alerted about the possibility of Prajapati trying to flee the country.
He was last seen casting his vote in the UP Assembly elections held during February-March. He was also present at an election meeting in Amethi which was addressed by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
He had approached the Supreme Court to get a stay on his arrest but the top court refused to comply, asking him to approach the court concerned.
(With inputs from PTI)