Shrikant Tyagi, the purported Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader arrested by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police for assaulting and abusing a woman in Noida's Grand Omaxe society, said on Tuesday, 9 August, that the woman is like a sister to him and that a conspiracy was afoot to "politically decimate" him.
"I express my regret on the incident. She is like my sister, the incident is political and was done to politically decimate me," Tyagi said.
His comments came after he was sent to 14-day judicial custody in the case.
The Noida Police had arrested him from UP's Meerut on Tuesday, a day after authorities razed parts of his residence. Three of his associates were also held.
In a press conference later in the day, Noida Commissioner of Police Alok Singh said that Tyagi, who was on the run, changed his track after the video of him allegedly assaulting the woman went viral.
"The main accused was on the run. For his arrest, initially, eight teams were formed. They were later increased to 12. The main accused went across the UP border but our teams, based on human and manual intelligence, while coordinating with other agencies, were behind him. He tried to go towards the airport in Delhi. He changed his track after the video went viral," Singh said.
While Tyagi claims to be a leader in the BJP's Kisan Morcha, the party has denied that he is even a member.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday also sought a report from the state's Home Department regarding the assault case.
The CM also called for a thorough probe into the matter and asserted that stern action will be taken against Tyagi.
What's the Case?
In a video that had gone viral, Tyagi was seen arguing with a woman resident of the Noida housing society after she raised objections against planting some trees by the purported BJP leader, citing violation of rules.
The woman had said, “Shrikant Tyagi lives on the ground floor in this society. He was encroaching upon the plants here and I asked him to remove the plants. At this, he said, ‘If you touch the plants then I will touch you.’ He abused me a lot and abused my husband and my child.”
He was charged under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 354 (assault or use of criminal force on any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty).
Later, Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), and 447 (punishment for criminal trespass) of the IPC were also added to the First Information Report (FIR).
The police also said that a separate case was lodged against Tyagi for having the official symbol of the UP government on his Toyota Fortuner, and added that they planned to slap charges of the Gangster Act on him.
(With inputs from ANI.)