Two Samajwadi Party activists held for throwing potatoes on Lucknow roads, Akhilesh justifies act

Lucknow Police authorities have claimed to have solved the case related to throwing of tonnes of potato on VVIP roads of the state capital last week by arresting two Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha activists.

Published: 13th January 2018 04:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2018 05:25 PM   |  A+A-

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. | AFP File Photo

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Lucknow Police authorities have claimed to have solved the case related to throwing of tonnes of potato on VVIP roads of the state capital last week by arresting two persons -- believed to be Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha activists—from Kannauj in Southwest UP. 

Both the persons, arrested on late Friday night, were produced in Lucknow district court on Saturday.

Exposing the conspiracy allegedly hatched by the workers of the main opposition party, the police arrested Shivendra Singh alias Kuku Chauhan and his driver Santosh Pal from Kannauj. Chauhan had contested the recently concluded civic polls on Samajwadi Party ticket for the post of town area chief in Kannauj.

Tonnes of potato were found dumped at various roads leading to VVIP locations in Lucknow on the morning of January 6. While the district administration had called it a mischief, the opposition had cried hoarse, calling it a protest by potato growers. However, no farmers’ organisation or group had claimed the responsibility of the incident.

As per the CCTV footages, a vehicle was seen laden with sacks of potatoes unloading them on various VVIP roads.  

The loader was seen escorted by a few SUVs while unloading the potato on Lucknow roads.

Reacting to the revelation by the Lucknow police, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was seen justifying the act saying that if the potato was thrown by his party activists, what wrong had they done. “It was to draw state government’s attention to the issue of potato farmers who are suffering in the state,” he claimed. 

However, he failed to hide his exasperation when he said that he would honour  Lucknow SSP Deepak Kumar with Yash Bharti award on returning to power in UP for his exemplary zeal to crack the plot.

However, last Saturday, the state agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi had openly dubbed it to be an opposition’s ploy to malign the state government. He had asserted that a thorough probe would be conducted as it all seemed to be pre-planned. He had called it an attempt by the opposition to tarnish government’s image as the potato, thrown on roads, was all rotten and discarded.

Elaborating on the alleged plot on Saturday, Lucknow SSP Deepak Kumar said that the incident was planned and executed by six persons, all SP workers from Kannauj.  Besides, Shivendra Singh Chauhan alias Kuku Chauha and Santosh Pal, Sandip alias Vicky Yadav assisted by Deependra Singh Chauhan (Shivendra’s real brother) had arranged the vehicle to ferry the potato to the state capital. A Samajwadi Party town area chief Shilpi Katiyar’s husband Sanju Katiyar was also involved in hatching the plot. 

A village head Pradip Singh alias Bangali and Jai Kumar Tiwari, an SP candidate in civic polls, also played role in arranging potato from different cold storages including the one in Thhithhia town area of Kannauj to be sent to Lucknow. The potato was also purchased from the warehouses owned by Anurag Dohre and Satish Jatav, also of Kannauj, the SSP said.

Kumar added that all six had come from different localities and villages under Tirwa police station of Kannauj to state capital to ensure flawless execution of plan on early January 6 morning. 
The police scanned the CCTV footages of different localities of Lucknow where potato was found on the roads. 

“The vehicle was identified and the cops zeroed in its driver Santosh Pal who later spilled the beans about the case and involvement all other five SP activists,” the SSP maintained. He added that the vehicle, laden with potato, was parked at the SP office in Mall Avenue locality of the state capital and on an early morning (around 3 am) of the fateful day.

All praise for CO Hazaratganj, Abhai Kumar Mishra and the crime branch team for working out the plot, SSP Deepak Kumar claimed that the Lucknow police team, led by Mishra, raided a number of villages in a joint operation with local police over a period of 3-4 days on the tip off given by arrested Santosh Pal and other potato growers of Kannauj.

The SSP claimed that the potatoes were thrown to malign the state government. He credited CO Hazaratganj with sifting through around 10,000 mobile phone numbers and checking the call records to corroborate it with the CCTV footage and zeroing in the culprits. He claimed that a detailed report over the incident and subsequent police action was ready and would be sent to the home department.

Meanwhile, SSP Deepak Kumar had suspended sub-inspector Pramod Kumar, constable Komal Singh and constable Naveen Kumar posted at Gautampalli police station, constable Ankur Chaudhary and constable Ved Prakash posted at Hazaratganj police station for the negligence of duty.

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