The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) arrested the main accused in the Ballia firing case — in which a 46-year-old man was shot dead during a meeting attended by several district and police officials — from Lucknow on Sunday morning, officials said.
Dhirendra Pratap Singh, a local BJP leader, was arrested from the Polytechnic crossing on the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway, said STF inspector general of police Amitabh Yash.
Singh had been on the run since Thursday even as a video circulating on social media purportedly showed him saying he had been framed in the case.
So far, 7 people including Singh and his brother Narendra Pratap Singh have been arrested in connection with the incident. Around 22 other unidentified people are also named in the FIR.
On Thursday, Singh allegedly shot dead Jai Prakash after a fracas broke out at the meeting at Durjanpur village in the Reoti Police Station area of the district over allotment of ration shops. The issue also triggered a political controversy after BJP MLA from Bariya assembly seat, Surendra Singh, came out in support of the main accused.
Uttar Pradesh Police had said on Saturday they would invoke the stringent National Security Act (NSA) and Gangster Act against those accused in the case.
Under the NSA, one can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if authorities believe the person is a threat to national security or law and order. Under Section 14 of the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, a district magistrate can order attachment of property, whether movable or immovable, if there is reason to believe that it has been acquired as a commission for an offence tried under this law.