Jitendra Kumar Tiwari held in Noida
BJP leader Jitendra Kumar Tiwari was arrested by the special investigation team of Asansol police from Jamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida on Saturday in connection with the deaths of three persons in a stampede during a blanket distribution event in Asansol on December 14 last year.
Based on information that Tiwari, former Asansol mayor, and his wife Chaitali, also a BJP leader and the leader of the Opposition in the Asansol Municipal Corporation, were in Delhi, the SIT, which comprised personnel from the Asansol-Durgapur Police Commissionerate, had gone to the national capital earlier this week.
The SIT intercepted him on Delhi-Yamuna Expressway on Saturday afternoon. A source in Lucknow police said Tiwari was heading for Agra.
However, high drama followed Tiwari’s arrest. A police officer in Lucknow claimed Chaitali was also picked up by Bengal police. The Uttar Pradesh cop said Chaitali wasn’t with Tiwari when Bengal police intercepted him at the Delhi-Yamuna Expressway, but the Bdengal police took the BJP leader to his Delhi residence and picked up his wife from there.
An Asansol police officer claimed that they were “looking for Chaitali”.
“After the SIT picked them up from Noida, the (Bengal) cops brought them to Delhi and wanted to take them to the airport. At this moment we came to know about the incident and sent our team to probe the case. Chaitali told us that Calcutta High Court on December 22 put a stay on their arrest and the action of Bengal police was illegal. The SIT claimed that the court had rejected their interim bail application and the couple had moved the Supreme Court and were awaiting an order,” said the Lucknow cop, adding the claims were being verified.
“The Bengal police need to take remand of the couple from Noida, where they were picked up from, before they are taken to Asansol,” the Lucknow cop said.
A police officer in Asansol said since January on three occasions Tiwari and his wife were not found at their Asansol residence when cops had gone to interrogate them in connection with the case.
“We were tracking their location and came to know they were in Delhi. A police team was sent to Delhi and they arrested him from a car on the Yamuna Expressway in Noida. Tiwari’s wife was not with him when the arrest was made. We are looking for her,” said a police officer in Asansol. He refused to give any official statement.
Sources in Asansol police said they wanted to keep the arrest under wraps but when the police in Noida got wind of it, there was an argument between the two sides. The SIT is now preparing to produce him in a Noida court on Saturday to seek transit remand.
Tiwari and Chaitali, along with an organisation, had hosted a blanket distribution event at Ramkrishna Dangal in Asansol on December 14 where BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari was the chief guest. Shortly after Adhikari left the venue, there was a huge rush to collect blankets, which triggered a stampede and killed two women and a minor girl.
Police later filed an FIR against Tiwari, Chaitali and some others based on a complaint by the son of one of the deceased. Tiwari, Chaitali and 10 other BJP workers were accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The police formed an SIT to probe the incident. Though the SIT interrogated Chaitali twice, the process ran into legal hurdles as the couple got protection from the high court. The police restarted the process to interrogate Chaitali and arrest the duo.
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