After evading the law for 58 days in the sexual assault case filed by a woman in Gujarat's Surat, Narayan Sai, the son of self-styled jailed godman Asaram, was arrested on Tuesday night by the Delhi police's crime branch from Haryana's Pipli near Kurukshetra.
Sai, 40, was nabbed along with his two close aides - Kaushal Thakur alias Bhakt Hanuman, 29, and Ramesh Malhotra, 27 - and his cook, a minor boy, while they were headed towards Delhi to seek legal advice from a legal expert in a silver Ford EcoSport SUV bearing UP registration number.
The cook was later left off while the other three were sent to Surat police's custody by a Delhi court where they were produced in the afternoon. The SUV is reportedly registered in the name of Neha Diwan, wife of a Meerut-based industrialist Ajay Diwan, and it was purchased on October 14.
A senior Delhi police officer said Sai chose December 4 for his visit because he knew that the entire force will be busy with the Delhi Assembly elections and his movements will not be tracked or monitored.
"Sai told us that he was very confident of his plans but was outsmarted by the professionalism of the Delhi police officers, the only force in India which he believed was capable enough to arrest him," the senior officer said adding Sai was possessing six mobile phones.
Police recovered around Rs. 3 lakh cash from the vehicle besides a cooking stove and some utensils which they used for cooking food during their long road journey while shuttling from one place to another.
Sai, who had trimmed him beard, was wearing a saffron headgear and a tracksuit to hide his identity when arrested by four teams comprising of 31 crime branch officers who were in nine different private four-wheelers.
SBK Singh, Joint CP (crime branch), said the arrests came following inputs that Sai was hiding in a cowshed, a property owned by one Pankaj Agnihotri in Punjab's Ludhiana. On Sunday, the teams received information that Sai will be moving to Delhi with his close associates either in a white or silver Ford EcoSport.
"Our team stationed in Ambla spotted the SUV and alerted other teams while chasing the vehicle for almost an hour on NH -1. Our teams intercepted the SUV and asked the occupants to show their identity. Ramesh who was driving the vehicle identified himself as Suresh but failed to show any identification document. We brought them and interrogated them during which they disclosed their original identities," said Singh adding Sai stayed in Ludhiana, Gujarat, Delhi and Haridwar while evading his arrest.
Sai had gone underground after two sisters from Surat filed rape complaints against his father and him at different police stations in Gujarat. The two alleged they were raped by the duo during their stay in the ashram in the mid-2000s. The 30-year-old woman who filed a complaint against Sai alleged he raped her between 2001 and 2005.
As Sai was on the run, the Surat police had announced a reward of Rs.5 lakh. His accomplice Hanuman, also named in the police complaint, carries a reward of Rs. 1 lakh.
VIDEO: Recovered Rs. 2 lakh 61 thousand, 6 from Narayan Sai: Delhi Police