Samajwadi Party leader and gangrape accused Gayatri Prajapati has been remanded to judicial custody for 14 days, on Wednesday. He was arrested from Lucknow, on the same day, after absconding for 17 days.
Three more accomplices including his son and nephew have already been detained by the UP Police in connection with the case.
Prajapati was booked on a Supreme Court directive and an FIR was lodged on 17 February against the former minister and six others for allegedly gang-raping a woman and attempting to rape her minor daughter.
A look-out notice and a non-bailable warrant had been issued against the leader. His passport too has been impounded.
Prajapati was in good terms with SP supremo Mulayam Singh, although his son and former CM Akhilesh had sacked him from the Cabinet in 2016.
In the just-concluded Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Prajapati had contested from Amethi.
As per a CNN News 18 report, the SP leader was hiding in various locations in Kolkata. He reportedly came to surrender in Lucknow, but was arrested instead.
The BJP accused the Samajwadi Party of shielding Prajapati. Suggesting police inaction, BJP leader Yogi Adityanath said:
Yogi Adityanath, BJP leaderAll those who were protecting Prajapati will not be spared.
Former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Vikram Singh also raised questions on the delay of the arrest. “UP police have a lot of explaining to do. This arrest happened only because of political intervention,” he told CNN News 18.
In his last rally before the BJP won UP polls, Amit Shah had said that arresting Gayatri Prajapati will be the first task of a BJP government if it came to power in the state.