Two aides of Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati have been arrested in Noida, police said on Tuesday, as the noose tightened around the Samajwadi Party leader accused of raping a woman over two years.
The two people are among the seven named by the woman of raping her.
Police said a team of special task force arrested Ashish Shukla and Ashok Tewari from the Jewar toll plaza in Gautam Budh Nagar, said Amit Pathak, senior superintendent of police, UP-STF.
They were brought to Lucknow for questioning and possible information about the minister who is absconding. “Their role will be ascertained by Lucknow police who are investigating the case against the minister,” he added.
He said Tewari was posted as lekhpal, a village-level government employee in the minister’s assembly constituency, Amethi and was considered his closest aide. Shukla took care of the minister’s work in Lucknow.
Prajapati is the ruling SP candidate in Amethi and the rape charges in the middle of the assembly polls have given a major weapon to opposition parties to attack the Akhilesh Singh government.
On February 17, the Supreme Court asked Uttar Pradesh police to register an FIR against Prajapati and also asked for an action taken report within eight weeks.
The woman has alleged that Prajapati had raped her when she met him three years ago. She alleged that she was raped when she fell unconscious after taking tea laced with a sedative. She said Prajapati allegedly photographed her and then threatened to make them public and continued to rape her for two years.
She has also accused Prajapati of attempting to rape her minor daughter.
On Saturday, a court in Lucknow issued non bailable warrants against Prajapati and his aides.
The victim, who hails from Chitrakoot, has named Prajapati and six others, Vikas Verma, Ashok Tewari, Amrendra Singh alias Pintu Singh, Chanderpal, Rupeshwar alias Rupesh and Ashish Shukla.
On Monday, the Lucknow police arrested head constable Chanderpal from Alambagh area. He was deployed as a security guard with the minister. The constable was one of the seven accused in the rape case.