Gayatri Prajapati, the Samajwadi Party leader accused of raping a woman and attempting to rape her minor daughter, was arrested on Wednesday, March 15, from the state capital, Lucknow. He has been sent to a 14-day judicial remand.
Director general of Police Javeed Ahmed has confirmed the arrest. While Gayatri Prajapati was reportedly detained by the Uttar Pradesh police and the Special Task Force (STF) team, three of Prajapati's accomplices, including two of his sons, were arrested from Noida for allegedly providing shelter to the absconding minister.
Here are a few things to know about Prajapati:
- Prajapati comes from a poor Kumhar family and was a BPL card holder till 2012.
- Gayatri Prajapati rose to power after he defeated Ameeta Singh in Amethi. His position among the Samajwadi Party rose as this first time MLA was from Amethi, the political seat of the Gandhi family.
- In February 2013, Prajapati was inducted in the UP cabinet by CM Akhilesh Yadav as Minister of State for Irrigation.
- In January 2014, he was promoted to a cabinet minister due to his closeness with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
- He was accused of owning assets disproportionate to his income in 2015 and was also accused of sheltering the illegal mining in the state.
- Lokayukta gave Gayatri Prajapati a clean chit in the case of disproportionate assets
- In September 2016, CM Akhilesh Yadav sacked him from the ministry after the Allahabad High Court asked the CBI to enquire whether the illegal mining was being carried out with the collusion of the state authorities.
- Besides Prajapati being involved in DA cases, Lucknow-based activist Nutan Thakur also accused Prajapati of buying properties in the name of his wife, Maharaji, daughters Sudha and Ankita, sons Anurag and Anil.
- Prajapati was also alleged to have bought properties in the names of his staff including drivers and domestic help. In fact the Income Tax department later confirmed that Prajapati's driver acquired assets of worth Rs 77 lakh in two years without filing an IT return.
- Prajapati and his associates Ashok Tiwari, Pintu Singh, Vikas Verma, Ashish Shukla, Rupesh and Chandrapal are facing charges of gang-raping a woman from Bundelkhand at Prajapati's official residence. They have also been accused of molesting her minor daughter, lacing her tea with sedatives, clicking photographs of her being raped and blackmailing her. The harassment continued from 2014 till 2016
Since the FIR was lodged against him, he had been on the run. Prajapati had been absconding since February 27 after ¸he cast his vote in Amethi during the fifth phase of voting. The other six men involved in the gang-rape have also been arrested.
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