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On the run for over month, Gujarat AAP MLA surrenders before police in assault and firing case; held

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Dediapada, Dec 14 (PTI) AAP MLA Chaitar Vasava surrendered before the police at Dediapada town in Gujarat's Narmada district on Thursday in a case filed against him and some others more than a month back for allegedly threatening forest department personnel and firing one round in the air, an official said.

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Vasava reached the Dediapada police station with hundreds of his supporters after leading a procession from his party office here in the morning. Some videos of his procession were also shared by his supporters on social media.

Following his surrender, he was formally arrested by the police. Along with him, three other accused also surrendered, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ghanshyam Sarvaiya said.

"Ever since the FIR was registered against him on November 2, Vasava had gone absconding. Three other accused, who were also on the run, surrendered before us today along with Vasava. We have formally arrested them and they will be produced before a court in due course of time," he said.

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Vasava's wife Shakuntala, his personal assistant Jitendra Vasava along with farmer Rameshbhai were arrested last month after the case was registered and they are still behind bars.

Vasava, who is a tribal leader, represents the Dediapada (ST) assembly constituency and also serves as the leader of AAP's legislature party in Gujarat. He is also the working president of AAP's central Gujarat unit.

Vasava reached Dediapada police station with hundreds of his supporters after leading a procession from his party office till the police station on Thursday morning.

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In a video released ahead of his surrender on Thursday, Vasava claimed that he was booked in a false case as part of a conspiracy.

"I have been booked in a false case because I was raising pro-people issues and also unearthing scams ever since I was elected as a legislator. The BJP government did not like my approach and that is why false cases were filed against me as part of a conspiracy," he alleged.

Vasava and six others were booked last month under Indian Police Code (IPC) sections related to rioting, extortion and attack on government officials as well as provisions of the Arms Act after a clash with state forest department personnel who were called to his residence in Dediapada town to discuss the issue of encroachments on forest land.

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A dispute arose between the two sides after the forest department raised objections to the use of forest land for farming by private parties, Narmada district Superintendent of Police Prashant Sumbe had said last month.

The incident occurred on the night of October 30 and the case was registered on November 2, he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA allegedly confronted the forest officials after inviting them to his residence for discussing the matter. During the discussion, the lawmaker and the other accused allegedly threatened the officials, and Vasava even fired one round in the air, the police officer had said.

Vasava is one of the five MLAs of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party to be elected in the 2022 Gujarat assembly elections. The tribal MLA was later appointed the AAP's legislature party leader in the state and as a working president of its central zone. PTI COR PJT PD NP

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