NEW DELHI: A few hours after the Supreme Court expressed concern over the fact that its order to egister an FIR against rape-accused UP minister Gayatri Prajapati should not be given any political colour, the state government arrested the gunman of the minister who is also an accused.
Prajapati has been evading arrest following an FIR filed against him in alleged cases of gang-rape and attempt to rape a woman and her daughter. On the lam from the law, the minister approached the apex court seeking stay on his arrest. he was turned down by the apex court.
“We have simply directed registration of an FIR and investigation in these cases,” the bench said, adding, “Now political colour is being given to this order. It is unfortunate. Let the police investigate this matter and say whatever they want,” the apex court said.
A bench headed by justice A K Sikri also made it clear that its order is just related to registering of FIR and the court is not monitoring the case per se. He said that the minister can approach the court concerned for appropriate relief if needed.
The court’s observation came on Prajapati’s plea for recall of its order for lodging an FIR against him.
Seeking a stay on his impending arrest, Gayatri Prajapati had earlier claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government had not put the facts in the right perspective before the Supreme Court and that false allegations were levelled against him.
The apex court had on February 17 directed the UP Police to lodge an FIR against Prajapati and asked it to submit an action taken report regarding the incidents in eight weeks in a sealed cover.
The apex court’s direction had come on a PIL filed by a woman who had alleged repeated gang-rape by Prajapati and others and sought the court’s direction for lodging of an FIR. Prajapati was sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav last year but was later reinstated in the council of ministers.
Later in the day, the Akhilesh Yadav government ordered the arrest of Gayatri Prajapati’s gunner Chandrapal Singh. “Chandrapal (Prajapati’s PSO) was arrested near Police Lines here,” Additional Superintendent of Police (East) Shivram Yadav said. He added Chandrapal would be produced before the court on Tuesday.
The gunner is among six aides of the minister who are alleged to be party to the rape of a woman and sexual harassment of her daughter.
ADG (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary said efforts have been intensified to track down the minister against whom a non-bailable warrant has been issued.
“UP Police Special Task Force has been roped in to trace the elusive minister,” he said.
The continuance of Prajapati as a minister has raised serious questions of “constitutional morality and dignity,” with Governor Ram Naik writing a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, seeking to know if he “justifies” having the tainted minister in his Cabinet.