Absconding rape-accused Samajwadi Party leader Gayatri Prajapati was arrested in Lucknow on Wednesday, reported ANI. Prajapati and six others had allegedly gangraped a 35-year-old woman and molested her minor daughter in 2014.
The 49-year-old leader was produced before a POCSO (Protection of children from sexual offences) court that remanded him to 14-day judicial custody. Senior Superintendent of Police, Lucknow, Manzil Saini told PTI that they will file the chargesheet in the next 15-20 days.
Prajapati, however, claimed innocence. “This is a conspiracy to malign me,” he said, demanding a Narco test on the minor.
The former Uttar Pradesh minister has been on the run ever since the Supreme Court had directed an FIR against him on February 17. A look out notice and a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him and the police had also impounded his passport. The police had been considering attaching Prajapati’s two properties in Lucknow and one in Amethi to force him to surrender.
Prajapati’s arrest comes a day after his two sons and an aide were held in Lucknow. The trio have been arrested for sheltering the accused. With Prajapati’s arrest, the police have managed to track down all the seven people named in the FIR.
On March 7, Prajapati’s two aides were arrested in Noida near Jewar on the Yamuna Expressway, while his security guard, Chandrapal, was picked up on March 6 near Lucknow Police lines.
General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the arrest has come after the state police are no longer politicised. “As soon as it has been freed from political pressures it has started performing resulting in the arrest,” he told PTI.