Noida: Absconding farmer leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who led the agitation by peasants in Bhatta-Parsaul villages in May, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police from Delhi on Saturday.

The farmer leader was staying in a house at Hauz Khas in south Delhi was caught in the national capital after being chased by the police for over three kms following a tip-off from an informer, Gautam Buddha Nagar district SSP Jyoti Narayan said.

"Police teams followed Tevatia as he came out of C-31 Hauz Khas in a car. One woman and a caretaker of the house were with him in the car. As he realised that he was being followed, he alighted from the car near a traffic signal and ran. But the police teams chased him for more than two km and arrested him," the SSP said.

The house in south Delhi where Tevatia was hiding is owned by one Romesh Sharma, he said adding it is being ascertained if the house belonged to a politician.

He has been booked for murder and kidnapping and other sections of the IPC, the official said. Tevatia was already having 22 criminal cases registered against him and was bearing a prize money of Rs 50,000 on his head.

Tevatia is being interrogated regarding the arms allegedly used by him and his men for firing at the police team and the District Magistrate during the Bhatta-Parsaul agitation, he said. Further details about where he had taken shelter are also being collected, the SSP said.

Tevatia spearheaded the peasants' stir in Bhatta-Parsaul villages of Noida against the state government's land acquisition policies and had been absconding since May 7. Four persons including two policemen were killed during the agitation.

Opposition slams Tevatia’s arrest

Criticising the arrest of Tevatia, opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh said there is a threat to his life as he has refused to bow to the "dictates of Uttar Pradesh government".

"The arrest of the leader of farmers of Bhatta Parsaul, Tevatia, is an attempt to gag the farmers' movement and now there is also a threat to his life," Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow.

Claiming that Tevatia had only a day ago revealed that he was being offered a hefty sum and a ministerial post for not going ahead with his agitation over land acquisition and other farmers' issues, Chaudhary alleged that there was an officer of the Chief Minister's Office behind the offer.

UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Tevatia's arrest is unconstitutional and he faced a threat to his life. "If anything happens to him, Uttar Pradesh government would be solely responsible," she said.

Terming the arrest as unfortunate, BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak said it was similar to the UPA government's action against yoga guru Ramdev.

"The day Tevatia refused to listen to the BSP, he became a criminal while earlier Ministers in the state government were in contact with him," Pathak said adding something similar had happened with Ramdev.

Case against house owner

According to the sources, the owner of the house where Tevatia was staying was a Congress leader. And for giving shelter to a criminal, a case will be lodged against him, said SSP Jyoti Narayan.

Delhi Police kept aloof

The Noida Police had kept the Delhi Police aloof from the raid. Narayan said, “As we had no correct information, we had to remain silent till the criminal was nabbed.”

JPN/ Agencies