BALLIA / FATI: Uttar Pradesh police have arrested a BJP leader and four others in connection with the Ballia murder case, officials said on Sunday.
BJP local leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh allegedly shot dead Jai Prakash Pal Gama, 46, on Thursday after a row over the division of ration stores in the village of Durjanpur in the Reoti area of Ballia.
The Uttar Pradesh government had suspended SDM, the district officer and other police officers present in the country.
According to officials, Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who is the main defendant, was arrested by the UP Task Force from Lucknow while Santosh Yadav, Amarjeet Yadav, Ajay Singh and Dharmendra Singh were held by Ballia.
So far, police have arrested 10 people in connection with the case, in which an FIR has been set up against about 30 people, most of whom have not yet been identified.
Dhirendra Pratap Singh was held from Lucknow near the Polytechnic area, PTI told IG Task Force (STF) IG Amitabh Yash.
STF in a statement said the BJP leader was carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 and was held at 11.40am while waiting for his friend near the Polytechnic crossing.
An Aadhaar card and 1000 Rs in cash were found by him, STF said.
He is being held at the Kotwali police station in Ballia.
During questioning, Dhirendra Pratap Singh said that on October 15, about 2,000 people gathered in the village and there was a fracas over the division of ration shops.
Members of the other side (Krishna Kumar Yadav) opened fire in which his nephew, Golu Singh and 5-6 women of his family were injured.
Golu later succumbed to his injuries, he claimed.
Meanwhile, Azamgarh Range DIG Subhash Chandra Dubey assured that the other accused will be arrested soon.
The main accused will be questioned to find out which weapon he used to commit the crime and efforts will be made to retrieve it, DIG said.
He said a year ago, a case was filed against Dhirendra Pratap Singh for misconduct with a supply inspector.
“An indictment for this case was filed in a local court,” he said.
The DIG said SWAT (Weapons and Special Tactics) teams from Azamgarh and Mau districts are engaged in arresting the rest of the accused.
Assistance from Bihar Police is also being received, he said.
“Defendant’s property will be seized under the Gangsters Act,” Dubey said.
Dubey added that all evidence provided by BJP MLA Surendra Singh will be fully reviewed.
The BJP MLA has been accused of backing up the accused by Congress.
Attacking the BJP without mentioning the MLA, Congress Secretary-General Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday asked the BJP to explain who it was supporting.
“With whom is the BJP government member in the incident in Ballia,” she said in a tweet in Hindi, adding that the BJP MLA is openly supporting the accused.
The MLA, who was summoned to Lucknow by the party leadership, said he met with UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and general secretary (organization) of the party’s UP unit Sunil Bansal.
Speaking to the PTI by telephone, he said he informed both leaders about the administration’s “unilateral action” on the issue.
He added that both leaders listened to him.
Singh said he was confident a case from the other party would be registered soon.
Meanwhile, the brother of the deceased demanded severe punishment for the perpetrators, security for his family, $ 50 assistance and a government job.
Expressing fear, he said, “But Dhirendra is a ‘dabang’ (strong man). We are afraid of inappropriate incidents in the future as well.”
Among those arrested in the case is Narendra Pratap Singh, the brother of the main accused.
It was held on Friday, along with a Devendra Pratap Singh.
On Saturday, Munna Yadav, Raj Pratap Yadav and Rajan Tiwari were arrested by Ballia.
Uttar Pradesh police said Saturday they will invoke the strict National Security Act (NSA) and the Gangsters Act against the accused.
According to the NSA, someone can be detained without charge for up to 12 months if authorities are convinced that the person is a threat to national security or law and order.
Under the UP Law on Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention), a district magistrate can order the attachment of property, whether movable or immovable, if there is any reason to believe that it was won as a commission for a credible offense under this law.
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