New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday described party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s detention as “totally illegal” and claimed it has “conclusively” established that there is no rule of law in Uttar Pradesh as the police seem to be carrying out Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s law and his order.
Gandhi was detained in Sitapur early Monday on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri where eight people were killed the previous day. While four of the dead in Sunday’s incident were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the others included BJP workers and their driver who were allegedly lynched.
In a statement, Chidambaram said the facts and circumstances concerning Gandhi’s detention in Sitapur “conclusively establish that there is no rule of law in UP”.
“She was ‘arrested’ at 4.30 am on Monday, 4th October. She has been detained in the PAC guest house at Sitapur. The district collector and the judicial magistrate concerned are both stationed in Sitapur. Her arrest and detention are totally illegal and an abuse of power,” the former Union home minister said.
“The arresting police officer told her she was arrested under Section 151 of the CrPC. Any person arrested under S. 151 cannot be detained for more than 24 hours, unless there is an order of the judicial magistrate under any other provision of law,” Chidambaram said.
She has been in detention for more than 30 hours and has not been produced before a judicial magistrate, he pointed out.
“There is no order of any judicial magistrate. Her constitutional rights under Articles 19 and 21 have been grossly violated. Her ‘arrest’ violated several provisions of the CrPC,” he said.
Chidambaram underlined that no woman can be arrested after sunset or before sunrise and Gandhi was arrested at 4.30 am, “which is illegal”.
“She was arrested by a male police officer — which is illegal. There was no memorandum of arrest and it was not served upon her and her signature was not taken – which is illegal,” Chidamabram said.
“Law and order in UP seem to mean Mr Adityanath’s law and Mr Adityanath’s order. The police in UP seem to be not obeying the law but are carrying out Mr Adityanath’s law and Mr Adityanath’s order,” he charged.
Chidambaram asserted that this was “grossly illegal and utterly shameful”.
The Congress strongly condemns the alleged high-handed and unconstitutional acts of the Uttar Pradesh government and police, he said in his statement.
Officials said on Tuesday that a case has been registered in Sitapur against Priyanka Gandhi and 10 others under sections related to preventive detention due to apprehension of breach of peace.
The case under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) sections 151, 107, 116 (all related to preventive detention due to apprehension of breach of peace) has also been registered against Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and party leader Deependra Hooda, the officials said.
Chidambaram said the sections of law under which Priyanka Gandhi has been reportedly charged are “laughable”.
Section 151 of the CrPC contains no offence at all and it is a provision for arrest for a period not exceeding 24 hours, he said, adding that no person can be ‘charged’ under section 151.
Noting that Section 107 and 116 of the IPC relate to abetment, Chidambaram said, “You must say who she abetted. You must say what crime she abetted. Abetment cannot be in the vacuum.”
When she was arrested at 4.30 am on Monday, she was abetting nobody and she was abetting no crime, he asserted
“In fact, the arresting police officer mentioned only S.151 Cr P C and no other provision of law and no other crime. The UP Police is burying itself under ignorance and ineptitude,” the former home minister said.