The district police have arrested a lawyer, Nishant Raj Ghanghas, for his suspected role in the last month’s attack on Mahender Chawla, a key witness in sexual assault cases against Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai.
This is the first arrest made in connection with the attack on Chawla on May 13.
A resident of Sector 11-12 in the city, Ghanghas is a lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The accused was arrested from his house on Saturday and a local court remanded him in three-day police custody.
He was arrested for allegedly giving life threats to Chawla, who had sustained a bullet injury on his shoulder.
On May 13, Chawla, a former close aide of Asaram, was attacked by two unidentified persons at his residence at Sanauli Khurd village on the outskirts of Panipat.
ACCUSED BOOKED FOR THREATENING WITNESS
Sadar police station SHO Narender Singh told HT on Sunday that Chawla had alleged that Ghanghas had issued him threats, asking him to not to give testimony against the controversial religious leader.
The SHO clarified that besides Ghanghas, Chawla had only suspected Narain Sai to be behind the attack on him.
“In his complaint, Chawla had accused the Panipat lawyer of offering him money for not testifying against Narain Sai. It was further alleged that Ghanghas had also threatened Chawla with dire consequences if the latter continued to be a witness in the cases against Sai. As no other person is named directly in the complaint, Ghanghas will be questioned for his suspected role in the attack or involvement of any other person in it,” said the SHO.
POLICE TO BRING SAI TO PANIPAT COURT ON JULY 8
Meanwhile, the police sources said that Sai would be brought from Gujarat to be produced in a Panipat court on July 8.
Chawla was the sixth witness in the case to be attacked – two of them have been killed – eversince the father-son duo was arrested in 2013 in separate cases of alleged sexual abuse.
Following life threats, the local police had deputed a constable to guard Chawla, but the former was found missing from duty on the day of attack. The constable was later supended.
Meanwhile, the police sources said that though there was no headway in the crime, including identification of assailants, the investigators were probing other possible angle behind the attack.
“Chawla has also been filing petitions under Right to Information (RTI) Act which could have angered some local panchayat members. But the investigators are yet to reach a final conclusion,” the sources said.