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Monday, October 18, 2021

Suspended Deputy Superintendent Baghel held for ‘favouring’ BSP MP in probe

Second arrest after retired IPS officer Amitabh Thakur was arrested a month ago

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
Updated: October 1, 2021 5:27:19 am
Deputy SP Amresh Baghel, accused of helping MP Atul Rai in a rape case, at the Varanasi court on Thursday. (PTI)

Varanasi Police on Thursday arrested suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police Amresh Kumar Singh Baghel in connection with the self-immolation by a woman who had accused BSP MP Atul Rai of raping her two years ago.

This is the second big arrest in the case. A month ago, police had arrested retired IPS officer Amitabh Thakur from Lucknow on charges of abetment of suicide.

The 24-year-old woman and her 27-year-old male friend had set themselves on fire on August 16 in front of the Supreme Court in New Delhi. In a Facebook Live video, moments before setting themselves on fire, the two had alleged that certain police officers of UP Police were supporting the BSP MP, who is currently in jail, and harassing them.

The two later succumbed to their burn injuries.

Police said that Baghel (46), who was then the Circle Officer of Bhelupur, had submitted an inquiry report in the rape case that was favourable to the accused MP. Moreover, he was named by the woman in the Facebook Live video before she set herself on fire.

On Thursday, Varanasi police arrested Baghel after registering a fresh FIR against him on various charges, including abetment of suicide, at Lanka Police Station.

An FIR was lodged on a complaint filed by Station Officer (Lanka Police Station) Mahesh Pandey under IPC sections 193 (false evidence), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save a person from punishment or property from forfeiture), 219 (public servant in judicial proceedings corruptly making report, etc, contrary to law) and 306 (abetment of suicide), said a police officer.

Commissioner of Police (Varanasi) A Satish Ganesh said Baghel was produced before a local court which sent him to judicial custody.

A native of Deoria, Baghel was promoted to the rank of DySP last year. Months later he was suspended for “dereliction of duty”.

Two days after the self-immolation incident, the UP government formed a two-member panel, led by DGP (Police Recruitment and Promotion Board) Raj Kumar Vishwakarma, to look into allegations levelled by the woman in the Facebook Live video. Lucknow police said that on August 26, an FIR was registered against Amitabh Thakur and Atul Rai on charges of abetment to suicide and others.

Two years ago, on May 1, 2019, the woman had got an FIR lodged against Atul Rai for allegedly raping her at his residence in Varanasi in March 2018. She also alleged that Rai had filmed the assault and threatened to circulate the video clip on social media.

On June 22, 2019, Rai surrendered before a court and was sent to judicial custody.

In November, Rai’s brother, Pawan Kumar, lodged an FIR in Varanasi against the woman for allegedly forging documents. He alleged that her high school marksheet, which was submitted by her to police, had some discrepancies in her date of birth.

In his complaint, Kumar claimed in her high school marksheet, her date of birth was shown as March 10, 1997. But four years later (in 2019) when she got a rape case registered against MP Atul Rai, she submitted her high school marksheet in which her date of birth was mentioned as June 10, 1997.

In the first week of August, a court in Varanasi issued a non-bailable warrant against the 24-year-old woman.

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