Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who was wanted in the Red Fort violence case, was arrested by the Delhi Police and a court sent him in seven-day police custody on Tuesday.
Metropolitan Magistrate Prigya Gupta gave the order after police said he was one of the main instigators of the violence on January 26, leaving several security personnel and protesters injured. One protester died during the incident.
Mr. Sidhu’s lawyer claimed his client had nothing to do with the violence as he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The police said Mr. Sidhu instigated the mob to breach barricades with tractors and deviate from the approved tractor rally route. His custody was required to identify other accused in the case.
The police had announced a cash reward of ₹1 lakh for information leading to Mr. Sidhu’s arrest.
Also read: Farmers’ protests | Tractor rally turns violent as farmers enter Capital
On February 7, the police said that pictures of over 70 people involved in the violence have been released to be identified, and 126 persons arrested so far.
A senior police officer said Mr. Sidhu was seen in several videos and CCTV recordings of the Red Fort violence obtained from various sources. An FIR was registered at the Kotwali police station and it was later transferred to the Crime Branch for further investigation. In mobile footages, he and others were seen instigating and provoking mob to enter Red Fort and hoist a religious flag.
Police said he was detained from the Karnal Highway in Haryana on Monday night when he was about to board a car to escape to Bihar, where his wife is staying. He claimed that he was hiding at various locations in Haryana and Punjab after January 26. After he was named in the violence case, he recorded video messages with the help of his friends and the videos were uploaded on social media sites through his friend who is in the U.S.
Sanjeev Yadav, DCP (Special Cell) said, “He first came to Singhu border on November 25 where he took a room on rent and arranged a tent for himself. He claimed that he entered in the movement after he got carried away by the farmers’ protest during initial days of the protest back in Punjab. He was in touch with farmers’ leaders but he detached himself from them when he found leaders were soft with the police and agreed to their terms and conditions for proposed tractor parade on Republic Day,” said senior police officer.
Thereafter, he addressed a group of like-minded protesters and planned to take a tractor parade to India Gate but due to heavy police deployment he moved to the Red Fort. On January 27, he was seen running away from the Singhu border. He was last seen outside a ‘dhaba’ in Sonepat.
“Deep was uploading content on social media from two mobile phones. One of the mobile phone’s locations was traced in Singhu but other was located in California. The mobile phone he was using at Singhu border is missing,” the officer added.