Hathras stampede main accused sent to 14 day judicial custody

Madhukar's lawyer A P Singh late Friday night claimed his client had surrendered to the police in Delhi.
Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in Hathras
Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in HathrasPhoto | PTI

LUCKNOW: Devprakash Madhukar, the main accused of the Hathras stampede case, who surrendered to Delhi police late Friday night and was later taken into custody by UP police has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

Madhukar, who was arrested late at night on Friday, was contacted by some political parties recently, Hathras Superintendent of Police Nipun Agarwal said.

"It has also come to our knowledge that a few days back, Devprakash was contacted by some political parties. It is being probed whether the resources funded by political parties to Bhole Baba's organisation were meant for political or vested interest," said Agarwal.

"Stern action will be taken if the role of any political party is found," he added.

The self-styled godman Bhole Baba alias Narayan Sakar Hari alias Suraj Pal, expressed grief over the loss of 121 lives at the massive tragedy during his Satsang Sabha in Hathras.

Four days after the stampede, the preacher, on Saturday, interacted with a news agency, the video footage of which is viral on social media, hoping that strict action would be taken against the culprits who were behind the stampede which claimed so many lives.

While speaking from his Mainpuri Ashram, Bhole Baba is seen saying that he was depressed over the tragedy. The self-styled Godman urged the bereaved families to have faith in the judiciary of the country and that justice would be done.

Bodies of victims of the Hathras stampede lie at Bagla District Hospital in Hathras
Hathras stampede: "Culprits won't be spared", says 'Bhole Baba', urges people to have faith in govt probe

"...I am deeply saddened after the incident of July 2. May God give us the strength to bear this pain. Please keep faith in the government and the administration. I have faith that anyone who created the chaos would not be spared... Through my lawyer Dr AP Singh, I have requested the members of the committee (probe committee) to stand with the bereaved families and the injured and help them throughout their lives...," said the preacher.

An FIR was lodged in the matter on July 2 under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Sections 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 110 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 126 (2) (wrongful restraint), 223 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by the public servant) and 238 (causing disappearance of evidence).

However, Bhole Baba was not named in the FIR. Dev Prakash Madhukar, the 'mukhya sevadar' of Bhole Baba, is the only accused named in the FIR lodged at Sikandra Rao police station in Hathras in connection with the incident. Hathras SP Nipun Agarwal said Madhukar was arrested from Delhi and was brought to Hathras to be presented in the court.

Earlier, in a recorded message, Madhukar's lawyer AP Singh said that Madhukar had surrendered in Delhi, where he was undergoing treatment.

"Today, we have made Devprakash Madhukar, who has been called the main organiser in the FIR in the Hathras case, surrender after calling the police, the SIT and the STF in Delhi since he was undergoing treatment here," Singh said.

"We had promised we would not apply for anticipatory bail since we did no wrong. What is our crime? He is an engineer and a heart patient. Doctors said his condition is stable now and so we surrendered today to join the probe," Singh told the media.

A reward of Rs 1 lakh was offered by the police for any information that could lead to his arrest. Along with Madhukar, six others were also arrested, including two female volunteers from the organising committee of the 'satsang sabha’. AP Singh said police may now record his statement or question him but they must take into consideration his health condition and ensure that "nothing wrong happens with him".

Till Thursday, six people, including two women volunteers who were members of the organising committee of Bhole Baba's 'Satsang', had been arrested in the case.

(With inputs from PTI)

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