Non-bailable arrest warrants were issued on Wednesday against 16 UP politicians - including a BSP MP and two MLAs each of the BJP and BSP - for allegedly fanning the communal riots that left more than 45 people dead recently.
While the leaders belong to the BSP, BJP and Congress, the Samajwadi Party also continued to face the heat with senior minister Azam Khan pleading innocent to allegations leveled against him on the basis of a TV sting operation.
A junior police officer in riot-hit Muzzafarnagar was caught on camera claiming Khan had asked them to go slow on rioters.
The 16 leaders are accused of holding meetings and making inflammatory speeches. Police said a special cell has been set up to investigate the riots and special teams formed to arrest the persons named in the NBWs.
A day after the sting, Khan said, "I deny a thousand times that I called up any police officer anywhere in Muzaffarnagar or elsewhere on how to deal with rioters. Let the investigating agencies check my call records."
"The SHO is shown stating yes to a pointed query on my involvement. It's very clear it's a conspiracy to defame me," the parliamentary affairs minister and assembly speaker said.
Khan had to adjourn the House as opposition parties made a ruckus over the government's handling of the riots. Amid the high drama, three BJP legislators wanted in connection with the riots walked away from under the noses of the police, who'd spent most of the day waiting outside the House to arrest them.