Varanasi/Guwahati: On the run for two weeks, Amar Jyoti Kalita, who was filmed leading a mob of 50 in molesting a young woman in Guwahati, was on Monday arrested in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh following a tip-off from Assam police.
Kalita reportedly surrendered at the Banaras Hindu University Police Chowki in Varanasi on Tuesday.
DIG Varanasi Satish Ganesh said that a man claiming to be Kalita surrendered before the police on Monday afternoon. Ganesh said that Uttar Pradesh Police have contacted their counterparts in Assam to identify and verify the claims being made by the man.
The molestation incident, which was aired by a news channel on July 9, outraged the nation. The video clip showed a smiling Kalita in a red T-shirt trying to rip of the shirt of the woman as she walked out of a pub. He was joined by a mob who dragged and molested her.
Kalita fled Guwahati after the molestation video went viral on the Internet and was shown by news channels. He was seen in Odisha, Mumbai and Kolkata. Kalita was seen at the Howrah railway station only three days ago.
Kalita is said to be a friend of the TV reporter who shot the molestation video on July 9. The journalist of NewsLive TV, Gaurav Jyoti Neog, was arrested last week.
Neog has been booked under 11 counts including intention to insult the modesty of a woman, obscene act and disturbing public tranquility. The Editor of NewsLive Atanu Bhuyan also had to resign from his job.
The police have so far arrested 11 people in the case. The unedited footage of the incident was also sent for tests.
The molestation incident took place on July 9. The teenager was molested and the incident was filmed by the NewsLive journalist, Neog. Media took up the incident on July 12, following which there was outrage in the country with activists demanding justice for the victim and action against the beasts.
While the video of the incident went viral on the Internet, 12 accused were identified and their pictures were out not just in Guwahati, but throughout the Internet, asking people to inform the police wherever any of them was seen.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also set a 2-day deadline for the police to arrest all the accused, which the police failed to meet. While the police has managed to arrest 11 accused, Kalita is still in the custody of Uttar Pradesh Police.
The National Commission for Women had also set up a team to probe the incident. However, the NCW also made a blunder with one of its fact finding committee members, Alka Lamba, revealing the victim's name in the report. Lamba had to quit the committee following the blunder.
With Kalita's arrest, 14 of the seventeen identified in the incident on the Guwahati-Shillong road on the night of July 9 have been taken into custody. Of the 14 arrested, seven are in judicial custody while the cameraman of a local TV who filmed the incident Gaurav Jyoti Nego has been remanded in police custody.
Kalita, a former government employee, was absconding since the incident. A team of Assam police has left for Varanasi to take custody of Kalita.
In the video footage, the victim was shown being dragged back by the mob after she managed to run a few feet in a desperate bid to seek help from passing cars. Since the incident, there have been conflicting reports about Kalita's whereabouts. While one said he was spotted in Odisha, another said he had fled to Bengal. A third report said he was in Mumbai.