The Ranchi police on Tuesday arrested Barakgaon Congress legislator Nirmala Devi as she was leaving after attending the monsoon session of the Jharkhand Assembly on charges of leading violent protests against the police earlier this month.
Superintendent of police (Hazaribag) Akhilesh Jha said, “The arrest was made by the Jagannathpur police station in Ranchi. We will produce her before the court.”
Devi’s arrest comes just days after her husband ex-Jharkhand minister Yogendra Sao was arrested on the similar charges from a hotel in Ranchi on August 21. Police sources said inter-state raids were conducted in over a dozen places across Ramgarh, Hazaribag and Ranchi to track down Sao and Devi.
On August 14, villagers led by the couple allegedly clashed with the police during a protest at a National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) construction site at Dhenga village in Barkagaon block of Hazaribagh district. The police had to fire teargas shells and resort to lathi charge to disperse the protesting villagers; 15 people sustained injuries in the clash.
The Congress on Monday introduced a cut motion in the assembly on the matter, but the speaker turned it down. Devi had at the time alleged the police was falsely framing her and harassing her in the matter.
According to the police, the couple led protesters displaced by the NTPC’s coal projects at Keradari and Barakgaon in Hazaribagh to supply fuel to its proposed Tandawa plant in Chatra district. Cases against 87 people, including Sao and Devi, have files and 14 people have been arrested so far, the police said.
Sao’s bail plea rejected
A first-class judicial magistrate of the Hazaribagh court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of ex-Jharkhand minister Yogendra Sao, who faces charges of leading violent protests against the police at an NTPC site on August 14.