On the run for two days after he was caught on video brandishing a gun at Hyatt Regency hotel, Ashish Pandey, son of former BSP MP Rakesh Pandey, surrendered before a Delhi court Thursday. He has been sent to police custody till Friday. On Wednesday, a Delhi court issued a non-bailable warrant against Pandey for brandishing the firearm and threatening a man and a woman following an argument at the R K Puram hotel on Saturday night. He was booked for assault and under various sections of the Arms Act. Police said during questioning, Pandey claimed he was “provoked by the couple” and that the man, Kanwar Gaurav, allegedly “abused” him after he asked him to come out of the women’s washroom. He also claimed that Kanwar misbehaved with his three women friends who had gone to use the washroom. “After a heated argument, they left the hotel and sat in his car. On spotting the man and woman standing on the porch, one of the women rolled down the window and shouted at them. The couple, in turn, made obscene gestures, and provoked him,” said police sources.
Ex-BSP MP’s gun-toting son Ashish Pandey surrenders before Delhi court.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) October 18, 2018
In his statement to police, Kanwar had claimed he was holding the washroom door open for his friend who was unwell when “three girls walked in and started abusing me”, after which he claimed Pandey abused him. Pandey moved a surrender application before Metropolitan Magistrate Neetu Sharma. The application, filed through lawyer S P M Tripathi, said Pandey has been wrongly framed in the FIR and subjected to a media trial. Police sought four days of custodial interrogation on the grounds that the accused needs to be taken to Lucknow to recover the weapon he brandished, and to verify if he has a licence for the gun.
Accepting the police’s submissions, the court allowed them to question Pandey for a day. However, his counsel opposed the police custody and said that his client has a licensed gun and is being framed as his father was a politician. According to police, Pandey had gone to a friend’s flat in south Delhi from Hyatt.
“He then dropped the three women at their hotel and went to his Jangpura flat. He left for Lucknow on Sunday evening. On Monday night, he found out that a video of the incident had gone viral on social media… After he found news channels running the footage on Tuesday morning, he got scared and left his home… and stayed with friends and relatives in Lucknow and east UP,” said a police officer.
Police said the three women have left the country and they are verifying their details from the immigration department.