The Uttar Pradesh special task force (STF) and Ghaziabad police on Wednesday arrested a 35-year-old for suspected involvement in the August 11 attack on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Brijpal Teotia. The police also identified him as nephew of late UP police inspector Pritam Singh who was part of the STF team that gunned down hitman Shri Prakash Shukla in 1998. Several shooters of the gang had later killed Singh in retaliation.
The police arrested Yogendra Thakur alias Babbal, 35, who was part of the group led by prime suspect Manish that had attacked Teotia at Murad Nagar town on August 11. Thakur is from Naraina in Delhi but shifted to Ghaziabad’s Govindpuram in 1998. He is said to have been residing at a rented flat at Raj Nagar Extension.
“He was into property dealing where he came in contact with Vicky (Manish’s brother). Thakur had also pledged his car to Manish and Vicky as he was short of money on account of his business. He told us that he saw the AK-47 used in the attack with Manish who told him that the weapon is from the time when his father, Suresh Diwan, was alive,” said KS Emmanuel, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Ghaziabad.
“He has told us that the attack on Teotia was planned in February and carried out in August after roping in several persons,” he added.
Diwan was murdered in 1999 in Delhi. Following the incident, Teotia was named in the FIR, but the police gave him a clean chit later. However, Manish, who is presently absconding, is said to believe that Teotia was behind the incident. He had allegedly planned the August 11 attack as revenge.
Police said Thakur was initially brought up by his maternal uncle Singh, but later came in contact with criminal elements when he shifted to Ghaziabad in 1998. His uncle had also helped him get jobs and in his sister’s wedding, police added.
After Thakur shifted to Ghaziabad, he came in contact with one Amit Baliyan and got involved in a murder case of one Virendra Shaklani in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar in 2002. Later, Thakur was sentenced to life imprisonment and has so far served nearly five and half years in jail, police said. He was out on bail at the time of the incident.
Leading further investigations, police said they have come to know about a gang from Bulandshahr that had allegedly robbed the Fortuner car used in the attack from DLF Gurgaon in June.