On Saturday, a police team reached Bheem Army national president Vinay Ratan’s house in Fatehpur village of Saharanpur. They chatted with his mother and “brother Sachin” while pasting a court order on the wall that declared Ratan an absconder, after which they went back to their station.
A few hours later, the team returned. A video of their interaction had surfaced and someone had pointed out the gaffe — they had been chatting with the man named in the poster all along. Local police said they hadn’t recognised Ratan. The Saharanpur SSP on Monday ordered an inquiry into the episode.
Vinay Ratan, 35, was wanted in a case of violence and arson in connection with the caste clash in the district in May 2017. Police had also announced a Rs 12,000-reward on his head. Ratan surrendered before a local court on Monday, but the inquiry ordered by the SSP would continue to probe the video.
Fatehpur police station house officer (SHO) Bhanu Pratap Singh said his counterparts at the Kotwali Dehat police station, where the case was lodged, had asked his station to serve the notice as the house fell under their jurisdiction.
“While the police team, comprising two sub-inspectors and three constables, was busy executing the court order, Ratan’s mother came with a man who she introduced as her younger son, Sachin. Since none of the policemen in the team had ever seen Vinay Ratan earlier, they did not recognise him and didn’t arrest him. Vinay Ratan does not have a criminal history under our jurisdiction,” the SHO said. “A few hours after the team returned, we came to know through media and locals that the man was, in fact, Vinay Ratan. A police team rushed to arrest him, but he had already left by then.”
Additional Superintendent of Police, Rural (Saharanpur) Vidya Sagar Mishra, who will lead the inquiry, said, “Inquiry ordered by the SSP would continue to find out the truth as seen in the video.”
Saharanpur witnessed caste clashes on May 5. A man belonging to Thakur community was killed and 25 houses of Dalits were set ablaze in clashes after Dalits in Shabbirpur village objected to loud music being played in a procession in honour of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. The district had remained tense ever since.