Former Indian Police Service officer Amitabh Thakur was arrested on Friday for allegedly abetting the suicide of a woman who had accused Bahujan Samaj Party MP Atul Rai of raping her in 2018, reported The Indian Express. Thakur, who had announced that he will contest next year’s Assembly elections against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, was arrested outside his home in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar.

A Lucknow court has sent Thakur to judicial custody till September 9, Live Law reported.

The woman and a friend had set themselves on fire outside the Supreme Court on August 16. While the woman died on August 24, her friend succumbed to his injuries on August 21.

On Friday, videos on social media showed Thakur being taken away by the police as he protested against his arrest.

The former IPS officer refused to go with the police till he was given a copy of the First Information Report, according to The Indian Express. Thakur was arrested within hours of announcing that he was floating a political party to contest the Assembly polls, reported PTI.

Khyati Garg, the deputy commissioner of police of Central Lucknow, said that Thakur was arrested on the basis of a report filed by a two-member committee set up to look into the allegations of the woman who had accused Rai of rape. Garg said that report had held both Rai and Thakur responsible for the woman’s suicide and had recommended filing an FIR against them.

Rai has been in jail since 2019.

Thakur and Rai have been booked under sections 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 195-A (threatening any person to false evidence), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record, etc), 306 (abetment of suicide), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the India Penal Code.

The inquiry panel, formed by the Uttar Pradesh government on August 18, had submitted its report on Friday. The police said that the report mentioned a letter written by the rape complainant in November last year to the then Varanasi senior superintendent of police. The letter had alleged that Thakur had taken money from Rai to prepare false evidence against the women, the police said.

Earlier on August 21, Thakur had said the police barred him from going to Gorakhpur and Faizabad. In a video, the former IPS officer said that he wrote to the police about it, who gave him a “bizarre response”.

“They said that a woman and man had attempted suicide outside the Supreme Court...due to a case involving an MP [Atul Rai],” Thakur said. “They claimed that due to this, there is anger among certain women against me.”

On August 18, Thakur said that he would contest elections against Adityanath, and that he would formally begin preparations in this regard on August 21.

Thakur had been given compulsory retirement on March 23. An order from the Union home ministry said that he was “not found fit to be retained for the remaining tenure of his service”, according to PTI.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are expected to be held in February or March next year.

The rape case

The police had filed a first information report against Rai in May 2019. A month later, Rai was sent to judicial custody. The case is still pending in a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district.

The woman had repeatedly alleged that Rai’s associates harassed her and her family. Before setting herself on fire in Delhi on August 16, the woman, in a Facebook live, had also accused the Uttar Pradesh Police of helping Rai.

The woman had said that police issued a non-bailable warrant against her. The non-bailable warrant issued against her before she died was based on a complaint filed by Rai’s brother Pawan Kumar in 2020. He had accused the woman of forging documents to hide her date of birth while filing the rape complaint.

The police had charged the woman under Sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.