Hathras stampede: Main accused Dev Prakash along with 2 others arrested

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh), July 6 (UNI) Three more persons, including the main accused in the Hathras stampede case which claimed 121 lives after satsang, have been arrested by the police, a senior police officer said here on Saturday.

Talking to the reporters, Superintendent of Police (SP) Hathras Nipun Agarwal said, “The chief organiser and the main accused Dev Prakash Madhukar was arrested by the Special Operations Group of Hathras police from Najafgarh in Delhi late on Friday evening.”

He said that two more accused Ram Prakash Shakya and Sanju Yadav were arrested by the Sikandra Rao police on Saturday. He said that ADG Agra zone has declared a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh on the arrest of Dev Prakash Madhukar.

The SP said that on July 2, 121 people lost their lives in stampede after the satsang of Bhole Baba in Phulrai Mughal Garhi village. “A case was lodged under various sections of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) at Sikandra Rao police station on the same day against the main organiser Dev Prakash and others and the investigation was transferred to a Deputy SP level officer,” he said.

Agarwal said that six accused have already been arrested by the police. “After failed attempts to arrest Dev Prakash a reward of Rs 1 lakh was announced by ADG Agra zone on July 4,” he said.

The SP said that preliminary interrogation of the main accused has revealed that he was working as junior engineer under MGNREGA in Etah since 2010 on contractual basis. “He has been associated with the organisation for the last several years and was primarily responsible for organising programmes and collecting funds,” he said.

The senior police official said that Dev Prakash took permission for the event held in Phulari Mughal Garhi village on July 2. “Primarily his two roles have come to light, first as the chief organiser and secondly as the fund raiser,” he said.

The SP said that it has revealed that sewadar and organising committee workers working under the direction of Dev Prakash were responsible for entry, exit, barricading and parking during satsang. “They used to prevent police administration from any interference during satsang,” he said.

Agarwal said that their sewadar dressed as commandos used to make all the arrangements. “It has been revealed that during satsang on July 2, proper arrangements were not made and many conditions of the permission letter issued by the administration were violated,” he said.

He said that after the incident took place all the sewadar fled from the spot leading to mismanagement which resulted in the stampede. “During interrogation it has also been revealed that they made arrangements for the vehicles to move amidst the crowd even though they were aware that it could lead to a major incident,” the SP said.

He said that all the accused arrested so far will be taken into police custody. “He also works as a fundraiser for the organisation. It has come to our knowledge that a few days back Dev Prakash was contacted by some political parties. It is being probed whether the resources were funded by the political party for political or vested interests,” he said.

The SP said that bank accounts, movable and immovable assets of Dev Prakash along with the money trail is also being investigated. “Assistance of different agencies will also be taken in this regard. Stern action will be taken if involvement of any political party is found,” he said.

It may be noted that six persons, identified as Ram Ladait Yadav, Upendra Singh Yadav, Nek Singh, Manju Yadav, Mukesh Kumar and Manju Devi were arrested by the police on July 4.

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