Ruling Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Purshottam Naresh Dwivedi, charged of raping a minor OBC girl in his constituency, was finally arrested in Banda, about 180 km from Lucknow, on Thursday evening.
The arrest followed a 24-hour cat and mouse drama between cops and the MLA since Wednesday evening, when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati gave her nod for his arrest.
"Dwivedi is absconding and we are not able to track him down" was the standard reply of all senior officials of the state police and home department until Thursday afternoon, even though cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh stated categorically on Wednesday evening that "the MLA would be behind bars within the next few minutes."
Interestingly, it was common knowledge that Dwivedi had arrived in Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon and had even called on Mayawati's most trusted lieutenant and powerful multi-portfolio cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who also hails from Banda district.
Dwivedi was understood to have moved heaven and earth to prevent his arrest by pleading 'not guilty' and by blaming the poor rape victim for falsely implicating him.
Fact, however, remained that he was himself responsible for implicating the 17-year old victim in a case of theft of Rs 5000, a licensed revolver and a cell-phone from his house, for which she was still behind bars.
Dwivedi was also stated to have spoken over the phone to a couple of mediapersons from Lucknow on Wednesday. His mobile phone, however, remained "switched off" ever since the government declared its decision to arrest him.
Police kept on dilly-dallying on his arrest until Dwivedi returned to Banda on Thursday afternoon.
His three cohorts, Rajendra Shukla, Surendra Neta and Ravan Garg, who were also alleged to be party in the gang rape, were already put behind bars on Wednesday evening.