Search intensifies for absconding SP Minister Gayatri Prajapati

The UP Police has registered an FIR against Prajapati for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her minor daughter with his aides.

Gayatri Prajapati, the rape-accused Uttar Pradesh minister who has been missing for days, failed to get any protection from arrest today from the Supreme Court. He is now contesting from Amethi constituency and on the run following a non bailable warrant issued for his arrest. The bench made it clear to the counsel for Prajapathi and the state government, "We only directed registration of FIR and investigation".

However, the apex court expressed unhappiness over the order on lodging FIR against the minister being given a political colour and called it "unfortunate".

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"I am not concerned about the passport or arrest (of Prajapati), my concern is that the victim's family and witnesses are being threatened", lawyer M Pracha said. Only the court has the right to give directions on the same.

The woman, who hails from Chitrakoot alleged that she was raped by Prajapati and others for two years on the pretext of getting a position within the Samajwadi Party.

A team from the Uttar Pradesh Police is in the national capital, and will be coordinating with the Delhi police to hunt for Prajapati.

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The police is searching for the minister and trying to arrest him, the governor said. The UP Police had claimed that it was conducting raids across the state to trace the absconding minister.

The continuance of Prajapati as a minister has raised serious questions of "constitutional morality and dignity", with Governor Ram Naik writing a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, seeking to know if he "justifies" having the tainted minister in his Cabinet.

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