Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) international working president Pravin Togadia went missing on Monday after Rajasthan Police came to arrest him in an old case.
Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) international working president Pravin Togadia went missing on Monday after Rajasthan Police came to arrest him in an old case. An official said that Togadia is ‘untraceable’ since this morning when a contingent of Rajasthan Polic came to arrest him. The city police have formed four teams to locate the Hindutva leader who is a ‘Z plus’ category protectee. VHP has claimed that the 62-year-old Hindutva leader was detained by the Rajasthan Police in connection with the case, however, they later denied this.The mystery over Togadia’s disappearance deepened, with a senior police officer maintaining that neither the local Sola police nor the Rajasthan Police has arrested him.
Officials from the Sola police station said a team of Rajasthan cops visited them on Monday to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia under section 188 of the IPC. However, they could not find him at his residence. According to a senior Crime Branch officer, Togadia, who hails from Thaltej area in the city, boarded an auto-rickshaw from the VHP headquarters in Paldi area this morning and has been untraceable since.
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Addressing a press conference this evening, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) J K Bhatt said neither the Sola police nor the Gangapur police in Rajasthan have arrested Togadia. “The Rajasthan Police went to Togadia’s residence in Thaltej area with the Sola Police to execute an arrest warrant (at around 10:45 A.M) this morning. But, Togadia was not found there. However, VHP workers thought that he was arrested, which is not true,” Bhatt told reporters.
Citing the investigation by the crime branch so far, the officer said Togadia was present at the VHP state headquarters in Paldi area of the city since last night. He left the office in an autorickshaw with a “bearded man” at around 10:45 A.M today, said Bhatt.
“An SRP (State Reserve Police) jawan, who was deployed outside the VHP office, told us that Togadia and a bearded man called an autorickshaw and left the office at around 10:45 A.M. Before leaving, Togadia told the security staff he will be back within 30 minutes. We have formed four teams to trace him,” the JCP said.
VHP workers held protests in different parts of Ahmedabad and Surat demanding that the “missing” leader be traced soon.
The VHP claimed that Togadia was detained by the Rajasthan Police. The Sola police said they were not aware of the whereabouts of the saffron leader. VHP workers gheraoed the Sola police station, shouted slogans, and blocked traffic on the main Sarkehj-Gandhinagar highway, demanding that the police immediately locate Togadia.
“Our International Working President Pravin Togadia is missing since 10 A.M today. The responsibility of his whereabouts and security lies with the administration,” the VHP’s Gujarat unit general secretary Ranchod Bharwad told reporters. He said it was not yet confirmed weather Togadia was arrested or not. VHP spokesperson Jay Shah, however, claimed that Togadia was detained by the Rajasthan Police in an old case.
At around 4 PM, a group of 40 workers of the VHP laid a siege to Sola police station and shouted slogans for the “release” of their working president. Later, another group of VHP workers blocked the busy Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, but police broke up the protest. Similar protests were held in Paldi area here and in Surat city during evening. In Paldi, VHP workers blocked roads and damaged some buses. The situation was brought under control after police rushed to the spot.