Police on Monday arrested an aide of rape-accused absconding Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati.
A Satish Ganesh, inspector general (IG) of police, Lucknow Zone, said head constable Chanderpal, who was deployed as shadow with the minister from security headquarters, was arrested from Alambagh area. The constable was one of the seven accused in the rape case.
Ganesh said the police had also recovered Chanderpal’s service revolver that he had taken along during his run to evade arrest for the last one week.
Sources however said Chanderpal was taken in custody when he turned up to deposit his service revolver at Reserve Police Lines of Lucknow and was later taken to Alambagh for further legal proceedings.
The IG said Chanderpal was being quizzed about the whereabouts of the minister and other accused and would be produced in the court on Tuesday.
He said the minister would be arrested soon and added that the investigating officer had been asked to prepare an action taken report to submit in the Supreme Court.
On Saturday, a city court had issued the non-bailable warrant against the minister and his aides in the case. The gang-rape case was lodged with Gautampalli police on February 18, in compliance with the apex court order to conduct an inquiry into the complainant’s allegations and submit an action taken report to the court within eight weeks.
The victim, who hails from Chitrakoot, had accused Prajapati and six of his aides of gang-raping her and attempting to rape her minor daughter. Six others named in the FIR are Vikas Verma, Ashok Tewari, Amrendra Singh alias Pintu Singh, Chanderpal, Rupeshwar alias Rupesh and Ashish Shukla.
Sources, meanwhile, said Prajapati was present in Lucknow when the police claimed to have carried out extensive raids to arrest him in connection with the case.
They said the minister was present at the ‘tilak ceremony’ of co-accused Vikas Verma’s young brother in Krishna Nagar on March 3.
Vikas is son of PCS officer TP Verma, who is posted as additional city magistrate (ACM) V in Lucknow. A source said the minister’s location at some more places in the city was reportedly found but the police ignored it.
The IG admitted that the police had come to know about the minister’s presence at Krishna Nagar function but “it is still to be verified.” He said the Verma family will be quizzed in the matter to know the truth.