Lucknow: Rape-accused Uttar Pradesh minister in the outgoing Samajwadi Party (SP) government was on Wednesday arrested in Lucknow after remaining absconding since February 27.
He was later produced before a court and sent to 14-day judicial custody.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Lucknow) Manzil Saini told Zee Media that Prajapati was arrested from Aashiyana area of the city early this morning.
The SSP added that Prajapati apparently came under pressure after two of his sons and a nephew were detained by the Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday.
Notably, the minister shared a close bond with Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav as well as outgoing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Prajapati's arrest came just a few days after the BJP won the Assembly Elections. Ruing the UP government's failure to arrest Prajapati, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah had, in one of his rallies, said that "as soon as the BJP forms the government in UP on March 11, we will find Gayatri Prajapati even from hell and send him to jail."
Reacting to the arrest of the SP leader, BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak said: "The UP Police was till now politicised. As soon as it has been freed from political pressures, it has started performing resulting in the arrest".
The gang-rape victim had accused the minister's henchmen of terrorising her and her daughter in a Delhi hospital. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Javeed Ahmad said that Gayatri was being tracked for some time and that he was constantly changing location.
Prajapati was booked on a Supreme Court directive and a FIR was lodged on February 17 against the minister and six others for allegedly gang-raping a woman and alleged attempt to rape her minor daughter.
The apex court had asked the UP Police to submit an Action Taken Report regarding the incidents in eight weeks.
A Look Out notice was also issued against him as also a Non-Bailable Warrant. His passport too has been impounded.
Airports across the country had been alerted about the possibility of Prajapati trying to flee the country.
A woman has alleged that Prajapati had raped her when she met him three years ago. She alleged that she was raped when she fell unconscious after taking tea laced with a sedative. Prajapati took some photos of the victim and then threatened to make them public and continued to rape her for two years.
The 49-year-old Samajwadi Party leader unsuccessfully contested the just-concluded Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh from Amethi, a seat he won from in 2012.