In A joint operation, a team of the Jharkhand Police’s CID and the Delhi Police finally arrested former Jharkhand agriculture minister Yogendra Sao from the national capital on Saturday, nearly a month after he resigned and went absconding following allegations that he formed a criminal gang.
A Delhi court on Sunday granted the Jharkhand Police a transit remand of three days for Sao.
A debutant MLA of the Congress, who represents the mineral-rich Barkagaon in the Assembly, 50-year-old Sao had resigned on September 12 following sustained pressure from within the party. A district court in Hazaribagh had issued a non-bailable warrant against him on September
The CID had been claiming that the former minister could not be found even though he gave a series of interviews to Jharkhand-based media
A statement by the Jharkhand Police said Sao was arrested from the house of a Panna Lal Mahto in a JJ Colony in Delhi’s Shakurpur. The Delhi Police said Sao had been constantly changing locations to evade arrest. “He hid in Assam and Bihar before coming to Delhi on September 30. He was staying with an associate, also a resident of Jharkhand, in Shakurpur’s JJ Colony. Police arrested him on a tip-off,” Delhi Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ashok Chand said.
The Jharkhand Police had approached the Delhi Police Crime Branch five days ago seeking a joint operation to track Sao.
The MLA claims to have been “trapped” by the police because of his opposition to various “police atrocities”.
The case began with the arrest of five men from Giddi in Jharkhand on September 1 for illegal possession of firearms. On interrogation, their leader Raj Kumar Gupta told the police that he headed a banned criminal gang, Jharkhand Tiger, also classified as a left-wing extremist organisation in the state.
In a statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC, Gupta later told the police that it was Sao who had set up the gang in early 2014 to carry out extortion, and that the MLA provided him guns, money, bikes and posters. Gupta claimed the initial payment to the gang was Rs 75,000, along with three bikes.
The Delhi Police said Sao also formed another criminal outfit with alleged links to left-wing extremist groups, the Jharkhand Bachao Andolan.
The only leader to have come out in support of Sao has been former Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay, who himself had to resign as Union minister in October 2012 following allegations of involvement in the coal block allocation scam.
Apart from facing extortion charges, the Jharkhand Tiger is suspect in at least two kidnappings. It was reportedly preparing to attack a project site of the GVK Group when its members were arrested.