Rape accused ex-UP minister Gayatri Prajapati arrested, sent to jail for 14 days
Gayatri Prajapati, a Samajwadi Party leader accused of rape, was arrested in Lucknow on Wednesday, news agency ANI and TV channels reported.india Updated: Mar 15, 2017 10:49 IST
Police arrested former Uttar Pradesh minister and rape suspect Gayatri Prasad Prajapati from Lucknow on Wednesday morning, roughly two weeks after the Samajwadi Party leader went missing.
Prajapati was booked on a Supreme Court directive and an FIR was lodged on February 17 against the minister and six others for allegedly gangraping a woman and attempting to rape her minor daughter. He was sent to jail for 14 days by the court, ANI reported.
A Look-Out notice as well as a non-bailable warrant was issued against Prajapati. His passport too was impounded and airports across the country were alerted so that he could not flee the country.
Sources said he himself turned up before police after the noose was tightened around Prajapati by detaining his son Anurag Prajapati and nephew Surendra from Amethi on Tuesday. He is being quizzed at Alambagh police station.
Inspector General (IG) of Police, Lucknow Zone, A Satish Ganesh said Prajapati was hiding at different locations in Haryana and West Bengal for the last 15 days. Before fleeing the state, he was hiding at different locations in Lucknow, Amethi, Kanpur and Allahabad, the officer added.
Prajapati was sacked by former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav from his cabinet in 2016 during a bruising feud with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Yadav. He was later reinstated, triggering outrage and denting the law-and-order plank that Akhilesh was running his campaign on.
In the just-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Prajapati lost from Amethi, the seat he held, to the BJP.
Prajapati was also made the target of many potshots by the BJP, which used the former minister to undercut the SP’s election campaign and alleged that Akhilesh wasn’t serious about apprehending criminals.
At an election rally earlier this month, BJP chief Amit Shah had promised Prajapati would be arrested if the saffron party came to power. Addressing an election rally in Ambedkarnagar, Shah had said, “As soon as the BJP forms the government in UP on March 11, we would search (Gayatri Prasad) Prajapati even from the hell and send him to jail.”
A 35-year-old woman had accused Prajapati of raping her when she met him three years ago. He is also accused of taking obscene photos of the victim and threatening her to make the pictures public and raping her for the past two years.
However, Prajapati claimed it to be a conspiracy of the BJP in order to distract people’s attention from the assembly polls.
His three aides including senior PCS officer TP Verma’s son Vikas Verma, minister’s personal secretary Rupeshwar alias Rupesh and minister’s representative in Amethi Amrendra Singh alias Pintu Singh were arrested from Alambagh on Monday. Two others, Ashok Tewari and Ashish Shukla, were arrested from Jewar toll plaza on Noida Expressway late on the night of March 6. The minister’s security personnel Chanderpal, who is also co-accused in the case, was arrested in Lucknow when he turned up to deposit his service revolver on the morning of March 6.
Prajapati, who was considered a favourite of SP patriarch Mulyam Singh Yadav, had won the last assembly poll from Amethi constituency and was inducted in the state cabinet as mining minister later. He enjoyed immense political clout during the SP government.