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BJP leader, four others held in Ballia murder case

According to officials, Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who is the main accused, was arrested by the UP Special Task Force from Lucknow while Santosh Yadav, Amarjeet Yadav, Ajay Singh and Dharmendra Singh were held from Ballia. So far, police have arrested 10 people in connection with the case, in which an FIR has been lodged against around 30 people, most of which are yet to be identified.

PTI | Ballia/Lucknow | Updated: 19-10-2020 00:00 IST | Created: 18-10-2020 23:44 IST
BJP leader, four others held in Ballia murder case
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

The Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested a BJP leader and four others in the Ballia murder case, officials said on Sunday. Local BJP leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh allegedly shot dead Jai Prakash Pal Gama (46) on Thursday following a quarrel over the allotment of ration shops at Durjanpur village in Ballia's Reoti area.

The Uttar Pradesh government had suspended the SDM, circle officer and other policemen present at the spot. According to officials, Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who is the main accused, was arrested by the UP Special Task Force from Lucknow while Santosh Yadav, Amarjeet Yadav, Ajay Singh and Dharmendra Singh were held from Ballia.

So far, police have arrested 10 people in connection with the case, in which an FIR has been lodged against around 30 people, most of which are yet to be identified. Dhirendra Pratap Singh was held from Lucknow near the Polytechnic area, Special Task Force (STF) IG Amitabh Yash told PTI. The STF in a statement said the BJP leader carried a cash reward of Rs 50,000 and was held at 11.40 am while waiting for his friend near the Polytechnic crossing.

An Aadhaar card and Rs 1,000 in cash were recovered from him, the STF said. He has been lodged at Kotwali police station in Ballia.

Meanwhile, Azamgarh Range DIG Subhash Chandra Dubey assured that the other accused will be arrested soon. The main accused will be interrogated to know which weapon he used to commit the crime and efforts will be made to recover it, the DIG said.

He said a year ago, a case was registered against Dhirendra Pratap Singh for misbehaving with a supply inspector. "A charge sheet in this matter was filed in a local court," he said.

The DIG said SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams from Azamgarh and Mau districts are engaged in arresting the rest of the accused. Assistance from the Bihar Police is also being taken, he said. "The properties of the accused will be seized under the Gangsters Act," Dubey said.

Dubey added that all evidence provided by BJP MLA Surendra Singh will be thoroughly examined. The BJP MLA has been accused of backing the accused by the Congress.

Lashing out at the BJP without naming the MLA, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday asked the BJP to explain to whom it was backing. "With whom is the BJP government siding in the Ballia incident," she said in a Hindi tweet, adding that the BJP MLA is openly supporting the accused.

The MLA, who was called to Lucknow by the party leadership said that he met UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and party's UP unit's general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal. Speaking to PTI over phone, he said that he briefed both the leaders about the "one-sided action" of the administration in the case. He added that both the leaders listened to him.

Singh said he was assured that a case from the other side would also be registered soon. Meanwhile, the brother of the deceased demanded stringent punishment for the guilty, security for his family, Rs 50 lakh assistance and a government job.

Expressing apprehension, he said, "But Dhirendra is a 'dabang' (strongman). We fear untoward incidents in future as well." Among the others arrested in the case is Narendra Pratap Singh, the brother of the main accused. He was held on Friday, along with one Devendra Pratap Singh. On Saturday, Munna Yadav, Raj Pratap Yadav and Rajan Tiwari were arrested from Ballia.

The Uttar Pradesh Police said on Saturday that it would invoke the stringent National Security Act (NSA) and Gangsters Act against the accused. Under the NSA, one can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if authorities are satisfied that the person is a threat to national security or law and order. Under the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, a district magistrate can order attachment of property, whether movable or immovable, if there is a reason to believe that it has been acquired as a commission for an offence triable under this law.


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