A day after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him for brandishing a firearm and threatening a couple at the Hyatt Regency hotel in New Delhi’s R K Puram, Ashish Pandey, the son of a former BSP MP, surrendered before the Patiala House Court which later sent him to a day’s police custody on Thursday.
Confirming his application for surrender, Deputy Commissioner of Police (southwest) Devendra Arya said a probe into the case is underway. Police had sought a four-day custody of Pandey.
The surrender application, filed through lawyer S P M Triathi, said Pandey has been wrongly framed in the FIR and subjected to media trial. It added that Pandey is ready to submit before the court voluntarily and the police may be directed to take him into custody if required.
Ex-BSP MP’s gun-toting son Ashish Pandey surrenders before Delhi court.
Pandey was booked under the Arms Act and for assault after a viral video of him threatening a man and a woman was captured on a phone camera by one of the accused’s companions, prompting the Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, to intervene. Pandey, who hails from Lucknow, is the son of former BSP MP Rakesh Pandey. His brother, Ritesh, is a sitting Uttar Pradesh MLA from Ambedkar Nagar.
“I am being projected like I’m a wanted terrorist and police across the nation is looking for me. I am not denying that the incident never took place that night. A lookout circular has been issued against me. I learnt about this two to three days later when the video went viral. However, this entire incident is being shown through one perspective. If you check the CCTV footage, you’ll find who went to the ladies toilet that night and who threatened whom,” Pandey said in a video today.
He added, “I admit that I did take the gun while getting down from the car for my safety. I didn’t brandish it. It was hanging behind me all the time. There have been allegations that I had threatened that girl. I didn’t even address that girl, she pushed me and made obscene hand gestures. I will share the details with the cops in my statement. I have faith in the judiciary and so I have decided to surrender. There is no history of any police case against me.”
In a one-minute video of the October 14 incident that surfaced on social media, Pandey is seen brandishing a pistol and threatening the man and the woman. He is accompanied by three women, who are also arguing with the couple. Police said one of the three women in the video had made the recording. Hurling expletives, Pandey is heard saying in the video: “Lucknow se hoon… Tu kal mil mujhe (I am from Lucknow… you meet me tomorrow).”
According to police, a case was filed based on a complaint by the hotel’s assistant security manager Sawan Kumar. In the FIR, Kumar said: “Around 3.40 am on Saturday, I got a call from a staff member that a male guest had entered the ladies washroom. I reached the spot with female staff, and found he was arguing with some other guests outside.”
Police said the argument continued as they walked out of the hotel. “Two women went and sat in the car while one woman and the male member (Pandey) argued with the couple. The man went to his car, brought a pistol and threatened to kill the couple,” stated the FIR. Pandey then drove away while continuing to threaten the two.
However, hours after the incident, the former BSP leader’s son sent a WhatsApp message to all his friends and relatives, asking them to ensure the video doesn’t go viral. “Dear friends, there is a viral video of me going around. It was a mistake, I made a mistake and I apologise for it. At this time, need you to stand by me and help me stop this video from going viral. I am really sorry I disappointed you and myself. Help me sort this mess up please,” he had written in a WhatsApp group.
To this, one of his friends replied: “It’s already viral, bro. A friend sent it to me and I told him not to forward it.” Ashish then said “thanks” and left the WhatsApp group.
(With ENS inputs)