On Thursday, a 46-year-old man was killed in a firing over a dispute at a meeting for the allotment of ration shops in Durjanpur village in Reoti area in Ballia district
LUCKNOW – Dhirendra Pratap Singh, the absconding main accused in the Ballia murder case, was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) in Lucknow on Sunday morning, police said.
Dhirendra, carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head, was arrested near the Janeshwar Mishra Park in Gomti Nagar area.
Two other accused, Santosh Yadav and Amarjeet Yadav, were also arrested on Sunday.
On Thursday, a 46-year-old man was killed in a firing over a dispute at a meeting for the allotment of ration shops in Durjanpur village in Reoti area in Ballia district.
The crime took place in the presence of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and the Circle Officer of the area.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had taken cognisance of the Ballia shooting and directed that the SDM, CO and police personnel present on the spot be suspended immediately and strictest action taken against the accused.
He said that the role of the officers shall be investigated and, if found guilty, would be proceeded against.
Jai Prakash, 46, was allegedly shot at by Dhirendra Pratap Singh when the meeting for the allotment of ration shops was cancelled by the SDM due to a dispute between members of self-help groups.
Superintendent of Police Devendra Nath said that an FIR was registered against 15-20 people on the complaint of the victim’s brother Chandrama.
Earlier, Dhirendra Pratap Singh had claimed in a video clip that he did not open fire as alleged by his rivals and police and maintained that he fled after the firing in the village as he feared for his life.
Even as he accused district civil and police officials of biased action against him, police had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on Dhirendra.
A close associate of Dhirendra had also moved a plea in a lower court on his behalf for his surrender on Saturday, after which police beefed up security around the district courts complex.
In the video clip, purportedly recorded on Saturday, Dhirendra claimed that he was “innocent”. He said that he had cautioned officials about the malpractices in the allotment of fair price shops and threat of violence but they did not pay heed.
He further claimed that when firing started at the spot, he was standing before Sub- Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Suresh Chandra Pal and police Circle Officer Chand Prakash Singh.
He claimed that police officials caught him while his family members were thrashed amid indiscriminate firing by his rivals.
Surendra Singh, BJP MLA from Bairia Assembly segment in Ballia, on Saturday accused civil officials and police of initiating one-sided action and also alleged that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was being ‘misinformed’ about the whole affair.
The Bairia MLA went to the district hospital on Saturday to meet the injured family members of Dhirendra, and then broke down in front of the media.
The MLA said: “Even the medical examination of the injured family members of Dhirendra has not been done even though they are admitted in hospital after suffering injuries in the attack by rivals. The rivals of Dhirendra indulged in fighting and opened fire, but the officials have misinformed the CM and are taking one-sided action.”
In a related development, a group of ex-servicemen has come out in support of Dhirendra under the banner of Purva-Sainik (ex-serviceman) Sangathan to demand an FIR against his rivals led by Durjanpur village head Krishna Yadav.
Sangathan state head Ramesh Singh said Yadav and Dhirendra’s other rivals had started the fight and opened fire in a planned way but the administration officials targeted only Dhirendra, who is also an ex-serviceman.
They threatened to gherao the police station and intensify their stir if an FIR was not lodged against Dhirendra’s rivals.