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Gayatri Prajapati, former UP law minister, arrested in gangrape case

Gayatri Prajapati, former law minister of Uttar Pradesh, was arrested in Lucknow on Wednesday. Prajapati was being called the state's "fugitive" minister as we was evading arrest after being named as prime accused in a gangrape case.

CNN-News18 reports that even though the minister had been eluding the police, he was "free enough" to caste a vote in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election. Prajapati had been "missing" since 27 February.

On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh's Special Task Force handed over two of Prajapati's accomplices to the Gautampalli police station, where the initial FIR was lodged.

The Special Task Force (STF) on Monday arrested two of the associates of Prajapati — Ashok Kumar Tiwari and Aashish Kumar Shukla — from Zebra Toll Plaza in Noida. Tiwari and Shukla are also accused in the rape case.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Daljeet Chowdhary said that three persons named in the FIR have been arrested and efforts are underway to arrest the remaining four, including the minister. Passports of all the accused have been cancelled and lookout notices issued.

Gayatri Prajapati is a senior Samajwadi Party leader close to both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. As Akhilesh went twice to campaign for him, opposition leaders have been targeting the chief minister.

On 17 February, the apex court had asked Uttar Pradesh Police to register an FIR against Prajapati. A woman had alleged that Prajapati raped her when she met him three years ago. She had alleged that she was raped when she fell unconscious after taking tea laced with a sedative.

Prajapati took some photos of the victim and then threatened to make them public and continued to rape her for two years. A non-bailable warrant (NBW) had been issued against Prajapati, Uttar Pradesh's Transport Minister.

The family of a minor allegedly raped by Prajapati had lodged a complaint, alleging threats from the Uttar Pradesh police, Delhi Police had said. The complaint was filed at the Hauz Khas Police Station on Thursday against senior officers of UP police.

Following the Supreme Court's order, UP police had registered a case of gangrape against Prajapati and seven others.