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  India   Crime  07 Jul 2024  Stampede main accused held, judicial panel reaches Hathras

Stampede main accused held, judicial panel reaches Hathras

THE ASIAN AGE WITH AGENCY INPUTS | BHASKAR HARI SHARMA
Published : Jul 7, 2024, 4:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 7, 2024, 4:06 am IST

According to the UP police, Madhukar is the only person accused in the FIR, as he had applied for permission for the July 2 event

Prime accused of the Hathras stampede case, Devprakash Madhukar, being brought by police to a hospital for medical examination, in Hathras, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (PTI Photo)
 Prime accused of the Hathras stampede case, Devprakash Madhukar, being brought by police to a hospital for medical examination, in Hathras, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI/ Hathras: The prime accused in the Hathras stampede Devprakash Madhukar was on Saturday sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Uttar Pradesh court. The Uttar Pradesh police, which arrested Mr Madhukar late on Friday night from Delhi, had applied for his police custody to probe Narayan Sakar Hari's, alias Bhole Baba, political links and sources of funding. While politics over the incident continued unabated, a three-member judicial panel began its investigation of the Hathras stampede incident.

According to the UP police, Mr Madhukar is the only person accused in the FIR, as he had applied for permission for the July 2 event. He was arrested from Delhi's Najafgarh area by a special operations group. His lawyer, however, claimed that Mr Madhukar had surrendered to the police in Delhi, where he had gone for medical treatment.

Briefing the media on Saturday, the UP police claimed that some political parties had recently contacted Mr Madhukar and suspected that self-styled godman Bhole Baba's events were "funded" by some political party.

Hathras superintendent of police Nipun Agarwal said, "Mr Madhukar worked as a fundraiser for events of godman and collected donations. His financial transactions and money trails are being looked into and call detail records are also being checked.”

“A detailed probe is being conducted regarding the collection of funds to see if such programmes and other resources are being funded by any political party. From the investigation so far, it appears that some political party is connected with them for its political and personal interests,” Mr Aggarwal said, adding, “All the bank accounts, movable and immovable properties and money trail related to Mr Madhukar are being probed. Assistance will be taken from other agencies as per the need.”

According to UP police, Mr Madhukar worked on contract as a junior engineer in MNREGA in Etah district. He has been associated with the godman for over a decade and is his close aide.

Days after the stampede incident, the godman Bhole Baba finally broke his silence on Saturday. Speaking with a news agency, he said, "I am deeply saddened after the incident of July 2. May God give us the strength to bear this pain. Please keep faith in the government and the administration. I have faith that anyone who created the chaos would not be spared..."

Earlier in the day, the judicial inquiry commission, led by retired Allahabad high court judge Brijesh Kumar Srivastava, alongside former IAS officer Hemant Rao and former IPS officer Bhavesh Kumar Singh, reached Hathras and commenced its probe.

Upon arrival, the commission first held a meeting with the local police and administrative officials and later inspected the site. Speaking to the media, Mr Srivastava said that their investigation is underway and that the findings are expected within two months. “If required, we will summon individuals, including Bhole Baba, for questioning.”

Amid the ongoing probe, politics over the tragic loss of 121 lives in the stampede intensified. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the state government of trying to hide its failure by making minor arrests.

In a post on X in Hindi, Mr Yadav said, "To hide its failure in the Hathras incident, the UP government wants to shirk responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of people by making minor arrests. If this happens, it will mean that no one has learnt any lesson from the administrative failure in such events and such accidents will keep repeating in the future."
The BSP chief Mayawati demanded strict action against the godman and others.

Tags: hathras stampede, devprakash madhukar
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh