Varanasi (UP), Oct 18 (SocialNews.XYZ) Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who is absconding after allegedly shooting dead a villager in Ballia, has claimed that he did not open fire as said by his rivals and police and maintained that he fled after the firing as he feared for his life.
Even as he accused district civil and police officials of biased action against him, police announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on Dhirendra and was conducting raids to arrest him.
A close associate of Dhirendra moved a plea in a lower court on his behalf for his surrender on Saturday, after which police beefed up security around the district courts complex.
Superintendent of Police Ballia Devendra Nath said that a heavy police force was deployed in and around the district courts compound to foil the accused's surrender bid.
In the video clip, purportedly recorded on Saturday, shows Dhirendra claiming that he was innocent. He said that he had cautioned officials about the malpractices in the allotment of fair price shops and threat of violence but they did not pay heed.
He further claimed that when firing started at the spot, he was standing before Sub- Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Suresh Chandra Pal and police Circle Officer Chand Prakash Singh.
He claimed that police officials caught him while his family members were thrashed amid indiscriminate firing by his rivals.
Dhirendra claimed he was caught by the Circle Officer but escape as he too feared threat to his life.
He accused the district administration and police of taking one-sided action against him and destroying his hard-earned property.
Dhirendra is the main accused in the firing on Thursday during a panchayat meeting in Durjanpur village in Reoti police station area of the district over a dispute in the allotment of fair price shops.
Meanwhile, an audio clip of a conversation between the main accused and the local Supply Inspector Durga Yadav also went viral on the social media on Saturday.
In this clip, Dhirendra is allegedly heard threatening Yadav and hurling expletives at him.
Surendra Singh, BJP MLA from Bairia Assembly segment in Ballia, has accused civil officials and police of initiating one-sided action and also alleged that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was being 'misinformed' about the whole affair.
The Bairia MLA on Saturday went to the district hospital to meet the injured family members of Dhirendra, and then broke down in front of the media.
The MLA said: "Even the medical examination of the injured family members of Dhirendra has not been done even though they are admitted in hospital after suffering injuries in the attack by rivals. The rivals of Dhirendra indulged in fighting and opened fire, but the officials have misinformed the CM and are taking one-sided action."
In a related development, a group of ex-servicemen has come out in support of Dhirendra and staged a demonstration under the banner of Purva-Sainik (ex-serviceman) Sangathan to demand an FIR against his rivals led by Durjanpur village head Krishna Yadav.
Sangathan state head Ramesh Singh said Yadav and Dhirendra's other rivals had started the fight and opened fire in a planned way but the administration officials targeted only Dhirendra, who is also an ex-serviceman.
They threatened to gherao the police station and intensify their stir if an FIR was not lodged against Dhirendra's rivals.