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Key accused in Hathras stampede arrested in Delhi

The main accused, Dev Prakash Madhukar, an aide of self-styled godman Surajpal, also known as Bhole Baba, was detained in Delhi on Friday.

News Arena Network - Hathras - UPDATED: July 5, 2024, 06:53 PM - 4 mins read

Devotees at the religious gathering where a stampede broke out In Hathras district.

Key accused in Hathras stampede arrested in Delhi

Devotees at the religious gathering where a stampede broke out In Hathras district.


The Hathras police have apprehended six individuals from the satsang's organising committee, including two women volunteers, following the fatal stampede that took place earlier this week.

 

The main accused, Dev Prakash Madhukar, an aide of self-styled godman Surajpal, also known as Bhole Baba, was detained in Delhi on Friday.

 

Superintendent of Police Nipun Agarwal confirmed Madhukar’s arrest, stating that he was being brought back to Hathras to face the court.

 

Madhukar, who served as the 'mukhya sevadar' (chief volunteer) at the event where the stampede occurred, is the sole individual named in the FIR registered at Sikandra Rao police station in connection with the incident.

 

In a video message, Madhukar’s lawyer, AP Singh, asserted that his client had voluntarily surrendered in Delhi, where he had been receiving medical treatment.

 

"Today, we have surrendered Dev Prakash Madhukar, who has been identified as the main organiser in the FIR related to the Hathras case. We informed the police, the SIT, and the STF in Delhi about his surrender, as he was undergoing treatment here," Singh explained.

 

"We had assured that we would not seek anticipatory bail because we believe we have done nothing wrong. What is our crime? He is an engineer and a heart patient. Doctors have confirmed that his condition is now stable, hence our decision to surrender today to cooperate with the investigation," he added.

Political response

On Friday, Rahul Gandhi, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, visited Hathras to meet with the families of the stampede victims.

 

Gandhi reported that the bereaved families had expressed concerns over inadequate police arrangements for the religious event, which they believed led to the tragic stampede.

Arrests and investigations

The arrests of the six individuals from the organising committee occurred a day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to Hathras.

 

Among those detained were Ram Ladete (50) from Mainpuri, Upendra Singh Yadav (62) from Firozabad, Megh Singh (61) from Hathras, Manju Yadav (30) from Hathras, Mukesh Kumar (38) from Hathras, and Manju Devi (40) from Hathras.

 

Inspector General of Police for the Aligarh range, Shalabh Mathur, announced that the arrests included volunteers responsible for crowd management, collection of donations, and other logistical arrangements.

 

"On interrogation, it was revealed that these individuals were part of the organising committee and worked as sevadars (volunteers). They were involved in crowd gathering, donation collection, barricading, crowd management, electricity arrangements at the venue, vehicle parking, and cleanliness. The organisers had provided them with uniforms," Mathur stated.

 

The police further disclosed that the volunteers had obstructed the police and administrative officials from taking photographs and videos of the event and had even misbehaved when questioned.

 

"The incharge of the Samagam (Satsang), Dev Prakash Madhukar, in whose name permission was sought for the Satsang, had been absconding after being named in the FIR by the Hathras police. A reward of ₹1 lakh was declared for his arrest, and a non-bailable warrant (NBW) was issued," Mathur added.

 

Bhole Baba, who owns assets worth over ₹100 crore, is also under scrutiny.

 

The police indicated that everyone mentioned during the investigation, including Bhole Baba, would be questioned if necessary.

An FIR was lodged in the matter on July 2 under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) sections 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 110 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 126 (2) (wrongful restraint), 223 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by the public servant) and 238 (causing disappearance of evidence).

 

On July 3, the Uttar Pradesh government formed a three-member judicial commission headed by a retired high court judge to probe the Hathras tragedy and to look into the possibility of a conspiracy behind the stampede.

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