The priest, identified as Satya Narayan, was hiding in a follower’s house in a nearby village in the district, District Magistrate Kumar Prashant said.
Four teams had been formed to arrest the priest, according to PTI. The accused was questioned by the police throughout the night. The police said that he will be sent for a medical examination and produced before a local court.
Three men in Budaun district had allegedly raped and murdered the woman on Sunday. Two of the accused were arrested on Tuesday, while the priest was on the run. The station house officer of Ughaiti police station was suspended for laxity after a preliminary inquiry found he was negligent in handling the case.
Though the incident took place on Sunday night after she went to a local temple, a first information report was filed only on Tuesday evening after the woman’s postmortem examination report revealed injuries in her genitalia.
The woman’s husband said that the woman, who had left for the temple in the evening, did not return till almost midnight. The accused brought her home in a car, claiming that she had fallen into a well, he said. “My wife was alive by then,” the man said. “But before we could understand anything or ask any question, they left in the car. After a few minutes, my wife succumbed to the injuries.”
However, the woman’s son said his mother was dead when the men dropped her home. “They brought her on their own in a vehicle,” he said. “She was dead when they left her here. The priest and others dropped her at the door and left quickly.”
A video of one of the accused emerged on Monday where he claimed that he and the others had rescued the woman from the well. He also claimed that the woman was alive when he dropped her home.
The NCW had taken cognisance of the incident and its chairperson wrote to the Uttar Pradesh director general of police seeking immediate intervention in the matter. The commission also sought a detailed report of action taken.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has asked officials to take action against the accused and has also directed the Bareilly additional director general of police (zone) to submit a report and instructed the state special task force to assist in the investigation.