Budaun gangrape: Key accused priest quizzed, sent to jail

Budaun (UP): A temple 'mahant' who is the main accused in the alleged gangrape of an anganwadi worker in this Uttar Pradesh district was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on Friday and was sent to jail on 14 days' judicial remand.

"Mahant" Satya Narayan, around 50 years old, was earlier taken to the district hospital for medical examination. He was arrested late Thursday night and was quizzed for his alleged role in the gangrape for hours.

In a related development, the sub-inspector in-charge of the area was suspended on Friday. Similar action was taken against an SHO earlier.

Senior Superintendent of Police Sankalp Sharma said vital information has been received during the interrogation of the mahant and if required, an application seeking his police custody will be moved.

"We did not apply for police custody remand today," he said, adding that a decision in this regard will be taken only after looking into evidence which has come to light so far.

The SSP said that the information received in the interrogation of the mahant so far is "very important"and it will help in the probe.

"Mahant" Satya Narayan, the main accused in the case, was hiding in a forest area near the house of one of his followers in Mewali village under the Ughaiti police station, from where he was picked up in a late-night crackdown, they said, adding that he was on the run for five days.

The priest was immediately arrested and interrogated by a police team. The SSP said the sub-inspector in-charge of the area, Amarjit Singh, was suspended on Friday.

The station house officer (SHO) of the Ughaiti police station, Raghvendra Pratap, was suspended earlier for a "delay in informing higher authorities, laxity in taking action, dereliction of duty and failure in taking speedy action" and a case under IPC section 166A (public servant disobeying law) has been registered against the two officers.

They had informed senior officials about the incident after a delay of 17 hours, the SSP said. Some more people are on police radar and they are also being questioned, the SSP said, adding that all the angles are being looked into and the case will be solved soon.

The 50-year-old woman, who had gone to a temple, was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Sunday. Her family members accused the temple priest and his accomplices of raping and killing her.

A case was registered against the accused and two of them -- Vedram and Jaspal -- were arrested on Tuesday night.

The incident triggered an opposition outcry and a comparison with the 2012 Nirbhaya case in Delhi after the post-mortem report confirmed rape, a broken rib cage, a fractured leg and injuries in the victim's private parts.

The incident took place on Sunday and the matter came to light that night itself when the priest and his accomplices took the victim's body to her house, saying it was found in a dry well on the temple premises.

The FIR was registered on Tuesday after an autopsy confirmed rape and the two accomplices of the priest were nabbed.

Following the incident, Bareilly ADG Avinash Chandra had visited the crime spot and announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on the priest's arrest.

"Based on complaints from the family members and the post-mortem report, a case has been registered under sections 376D (gang-rape) and 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC," he had said.

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