A special team probing the murder of a farmer in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas has spread the dragnet to stop the key accused, the son of a powerful BJP MLA, from surrendering in court to evade arrest, police said on Tuesday.
The special investigation team (SIT) on Tuesday held six more persons over the murder of Pratap Lodhi, who was allegedly shot dead on March 18 by Vikram Singh Puar and his accomplices over a land dispute at Raghogarh village under Barotha police station.
Vikram, 28, is the son of Dewas MLA Tukoji Rao Puar, known for his alleged strong-arm tactics.
The incident has become a major embarrassment for the ruling BJP in the state and provided fresh ammunition to the opposition Congress to attack the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Singh government.
While the BJP leader has so far maintained a studied silence on the issue, home minister Babulal Gaur said on May 2 that the “law will take its own course”.
Gaur, who formed the SIT to probe the case, also quoted the MLA as saying that his son was innocent as he was not present at Raghogarh at the time of the incident.
Dewas superintendent of police Abhay Singh said the SIT was hopeful of making more arrests in the case very soon.
Another police official speaking on condition of anonymity said they had information on the possibility of the MLA’s son trying to surrender in court to evade arrest and interrogation.
"We have information that he is going to surrender hence we are taking all steps to nab the MLA’s son before he could appear in court. We have also deployed policemen in plainclothes in every court in Dewas. We will ensure that the MLA’s son cannot surrender in court," the police officer said.
Police had booked Vikram and his accomplices for murder but the accused filed cross-FIRs against some farmers of the Lodhi community to which the decease belonged.
Police later booked ten Lodhi farmers under different sections of IPC.
The Lodhi community has alleged that the sitting MLA used his power to lodge a cross-complaint against them.
March 18 : Four people were injured when Dewas MLA and former minister Tukoji Rao Puar’s son, and his supporters allegedly opened fire in Raghogarh village under Barotha police station of Dewas district to settle a land dispute. The injured were Pratap Lodhi, Ajay Lodhi, Ramesh Lodhi Avantika Bai.
March 20: Five supporters of the MLA’s son were arrested and the police booked them under section 307, among others, of the Indian Penal Code.
March 22 : After sustaining head injuries and battling for life at Medi Square Hospital in Bhanwarkua area for three days, Pratap Lodhi died. A case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code was lodged against 14 people, including the MLA’s son.
March 27 : After the direction of the director general of police, the inspector general of police (Ujjain Division) K Madhukumar constituted a special investigation team in the case. The team constituted by the IG was to include an additional SP level officer and two deputy superintendents of police and three thana-in-charges.
May 12 : Six more were arrested and rumours spread that the MLA’s son would surrender in the next few days.