A former army man accused of shooting another man dead in presence of the police in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, has been arrested. Dhirendra Singh — who had filed a “surrender application” at a court in Ballia — was caught on the Lucknow-Faizabad highway, said the Special Task Force of the state police.
The STF said he had fled to Bihar after the shooting and at the time of arrest, had returned to Lucknow, probably to find a hideout with someone he knew.
A surrender application allows an accused to surrender directly before the court, which then decides whether to send him to police or judicial custody. The process negates the possibility of immediate questioning by the police. In a normal arrest, the police can question the accused for a maximum of 24 hours, till he is presented before the court.
The family of the murdered man, 46-year-old Jai Prakash, has expressed relief at the arrest. “We want strict punishment for the accused. We demand death penalty for him. We also want security for the family,” said his elder brother Suraj Pal.
Contending that local MLA was supporting the accused, he said, “We have heard that they want to frame us under false charges. So, the government should help us”.
Witnesses said a fight had erupted between Dhirendra Singh – the former president of the BJP’s local ex-servicemen’s unit — and Jai Prakash at a meeting to discuss allotment of ration shops. Witnesses said during the argument, in presence of the police and district officials, he had shot Jai Prakash thrice.
Dhirendra Singh has denied any wrongdoing. In a video released recently, he said he had warned the police that there will be violence at the meet and asked them to deploy extra security.
“But they went ahead (without enough security persons). Officials were involved in the violence yesterday,” he said, accusing officials of accepting bribes.
The local BJP MLA Surendra Singh had defended him, saying that he fired in self-defence.