The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has “disowned” its Meerut unit minority cell member soon after his name emerged as the third accused in the list by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the violence, arson and widespread loot that took place during a protest against anti-encroachment drive on March 6.
The first two accused —Ishtiaq (30) and Abbas (34) — were arrested by the Meerut police in connection with the case. BJP member Shahid Bharti (28) is the third out of the total 30 identified among 80 suspects shortlisted by the SIT through three videos and eight photographs.
Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari has announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for any clue on the hideouts of the 30 identified persons.
“Earlier, he was a member of the party’s cell but he has not been with us for a long time. We have directed our cadre to remove posters and are also going for a verification of our existing office-bearers of the minority cell in Meerut,” said Tehseen Ali, district chief of the cell.
Hours after Shahid’s name appeared as accused number three in the SIT list, a letter nominating him as the minority cell member and signed by Ali on July 18, 2018, also came to light. “We are probing the issue and will lodge an FIR against him for defaming the party in such a manner,” said Mukesh Singhal, chief of BJP Meerut unit.