Surat, Oct 16 (IANS) A Delhi Police team arrested AAP Delhi MLA and Gujarat in-charge Gulab Singh here on Sunday, hours before a rally to be addressed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Gulab Singh, who had been camping for a week in Gujarat, was taken into custody and produced before a magistrate to obtain a transit remand.
He is the 14th Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Delhi to be arrested.
Anticipating his arrest, Gulab Singh had presented himself before new Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma while the Delhi Police team flew into the city armed with a non-bailable arrest warrant.
The warrant was issued two days back in connection with an extortion case after he had failed to turn up for interrogation.
Ahead of the arrest, Kejriwal, on his third and last day of Gujarat tour, accused BJP President Amit Shah of going out of his way to disrupt the AAP rally in Surat.
He had made the same allegation when he left Delhi on Thursday night.
“The warrant was issued two days before the rally and today a Delhi Police team has arrived to arrest Gulab Singh, who is Gujarat in-charge,” Kejriwal told journalists.
“This shows the BJP is nervous. Amit Shah has also tried to organise protests against my visit. I appeal to him to not to disrupt the rally as it is not an AAP rally but a rally of Gujarat’s people.”
Before presenting himself to the Surat police commissioner, Gulab Singh told reporters that the charges against him were baseless.
“I am in Surat for the last six days. It is on the day of the rally that Delhi Police has arrived in Surat to arrest me. I am not in touch with those arrested in connection with the case,” he said.
Gulab Singh’s driver was arrested last month along with an associate in Delhi.
Delhi Tourism Minister and AAP leader Kapil Mishra accompanied Gulab Singh when the latter reached the Umra police station shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
Mishra later tweeted that the Delhi Police, which was in a hurry to arrest Gulab Singh before Kejriwal’s rally, had now told the legislator that they would return to Delhi by train when tickets were available.
Kejriwal, who met families who lost their sons to police firing on Patidar protesters last year, is set to address the party’s first rally in Varachha, which has a sizeable population of Patidars and has been a hotspot of the Patel agitation.
A major Patel rally in honour of Amit Shah, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP President Jitu Vaghani in Surat was disrupted last month by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) activists.
Delhi Police’s Joint Commissioner of Police (South Western Range) Dependra Pathak told IANS that Singh was the ‘kingpin’ of an extortion gang, which used to extort money from builders after threatening them to demolish their buildings and under-construction projects falling in his constituency.
Police said an extortion case was registered against him and his associates in Bindapur Police Station on September 13, on a complaint from local property dealers that they were being threatened by four persons at gun point. Police reached the spot and arrested three of them, while one managed to escape.
“They were later identified as Satish and Jagdish Chander who work in Singh’s office and Devender who is his personal driver. They all confessed to working for Singh. Chander used a pistol to extort money on gun point, while Devender used Singh’s personal vehicle which has a MLA numberplate,” said a senior police officer.