Exactly one month after the violence in Syana of Bulandshahr left a police inspector and a civilian dead, prime accused Yogesh Raj, the Bajrang Dal district coordinator, was arrested on Wednesday night. He was presented in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Adesh Pandey on Thursday amid tight security. The CJM sent him to 14 days’ judicial custody.
A team of Bulandshahr police, crime branch and SIT arrested Yogesh Raj on Wednesday night. Bulandshahr SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary confirmed the arrest but did not divulge any other information. Raj had been on the run since the incident of December 3 and had been dodging the police.
Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and civilian Sumit Kumar, 20, died of bullet wounds during the mob violence on 3 December after cattle carcasses were found strewn outside a nearby village, Mahaw. Angry protesters had created ruckus at the Chingrawathi police post, alleging inaction over complaints of cow slaughter.
It is believed that Raj could avert his arrest for almost a month because of his political influence. Though the police are tight-lipped on the question as to how Raj continued to dodge them, residents of his native Nayabaans village said he maintained cordial relations with leaders of BJP and other Hindu organisations, which probably helped him stay away from the police. After Prashant Natt and Kalua were arrested and they reportedly confessed to killing the inspector, it was decided to hand him over to the police, sources said.
According to the police, the investigating teams got a tip-off after which B B Nagar police of the district arrested him from Khurja T point.
Residents of Yogesh Raj’s village that a team of police took him from the village in the midnight and recovered his phone from the possession of one of his friends. Sources in the police said calls made on the day of violence and earlier would be examined to ascertain how Raj was involved in the violence.
SSP Prabhakar Chaoudhary said a total of 32 accused had been sent to jail and raids were being conducted to arrest who were still at large.
Bajrang Dal prakhand adhyaksh Satish and Vineet of Mahav village who were also named in the case surrendered in the CJM court of Bulandshahr on Wednesday. The police said 54 accused were yet to be arrested.
The police had registered a case against 27 named (including Sumit who died in the violence) and 60 unidentified persons a day after the violence of December 3 in which Yogesh Raj was made prime accused. BJP leader Shikhar Agarwal and VHP activist Upendra Raghav were also named in the FIR alongwith other accused.
Claiming themselves to be innocent, both Raj and Agarwal had released their videos a few days after the violence.
The police then moved the CJM court to plead that the accused at large should be declared proclaimed absconders under Section 82 of the CrPC.