In a surprise move, the Crime Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department late on Thursday night arrested Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Bikapur in Faizabad Jitendra Singh alias Babloo, and chairman of Uttar Pradesh Ganna Kisan Sansthan Intezar Abdi alias Bobby.

Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Abdi are the main accused in the case related to arson at the Lucknow residence of Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi on the night of July 15, 2009. The act was reportedly in response to a comment made against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati by Dr. Joshi at a public meeting in Moradabad the same day. They have been since sent to jail.

While senior police officials here said the arrests followed “clinching” evidence gathered by the CB-CID that pointed to their involvement in the crime and have claimed that the rule of law had prevailed, the police action after almost two years has been dismissed by the Congress.

The UPCC president termed the action an “eyewash” and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the case.

Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Brij Lal said the two accused were arrested on Thursday after the CB-CID team found evidence of their involvement. Mr. Lal told journalists here on Friday that 251 witnesses were interrogated by the investigating agency. It was alleged by the Congress that the two ruling party functionaries led a mob of BSP supporters, who ransacked Dr. Joshi's residence at number 45, Sarojini Naidu Marg, just a stone's throw away from the Chief Minister's office in Lal Bahadur Shastri Annexe Bhavan and set afire four vehicles parked inside as well as a portion of her house.

Dr. Joshi was not present at the time of the incident and only a couple of domestic help were there.

Following her remarks, an FIR was lodged at the Majhola police station in Moradabad district against the UPCC president under Sections 153/153A/504/505(2) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and section 3 (1) of SC, ST Act.

In the wake of the arson, a written complaint was filed at the Hussainganj police station by UPCC spokesman Subodh Srivastava the same day naming Mr. Jitendra Singh, Mr. Abdi and 150 BSP workers.

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