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Hathras stampede: Main accused fled to Delhi after incident, now in custody of Uttar Pradesh Police

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.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 06:41 IST

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Noida: Devprakash Madhukar, the main accused in the July 2 Hathras stampede that claimed 121 lives, had fled to Delhi after the deadly episode before Uttar Pradesh Police got him into its custody late last night, officials said.

Madhukar's lawyer A P Singh late Friday night claimed his client had surrendered to the police in Delhi.

A police official told PTI that Madhukar was picked up by a Special Operations Group (SOG) team of Hathras police.

"He was taken into custody from Delhi, near Najafgarh area," another police officer in Hathras said, requesting anonymity.

However, police are yet to officially announce the arrest of Madhukar, the 'mukhya sevadar' of the 'satsang' where the stampede occurred. He is the only accused named in the FIR lodged at Sikandra Rao police station in Hathras in connection with the incident.

In a video message, Madhukar's lawyer A P Singh claimed that his client had surrendered in Delhi, where he was undergoing treatment.

"Today, we have surrendered Devprakash Madhukar, who has been called the main organiser in the FIR in the Hathras case, 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," the lawyer said.

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".

"We did not do anything like filing anticipatory bail or moving court which would have been viewed as an effort to save ourselves and being scared... questions were being raised about his (Madhukar) whereabouts and if he had run away," he claimed.

Madhukar will join the probe and share information about the "anti-social elements" at the event, he added.

Uttar Pradesh Police had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to Madhukar's arrest.

On July 3, the Supreme Court lawyer had claimed that he also represents Surajpal alias Narayan Sakar Hari alias Bhole Baba, the self-styled godman at whose 'satsang' the stampede occurred, and that some "anti-social elements" were behind the tragedy.

Surajpal was ready to cooperate with the state administration and police and had sought an investigation into the entire matter, Singh had said.

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.

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).

On July 3, the Uttar Pradesh government had formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy and to look into the possibility of a conspiracy behind the stampede.

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Published 06 July 2024, 06:41 IST

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