New Delhi: Ashish Pandey, the son of former BSP MP who has been booked for brandishing a pistol and threatening guests at Delhi’s Hyatt Regency, told the police on Thursday that he was instigated by a woman, who had shown him the “middle finger”, after which he got the weapon from his car.
Pandey, who was sent to one-day police custody by Delhi’s Patiala Court on Thursday after he surrendered before police, also said in a video message that he was being subjected to a media trail and that only one side of the story was being shown, portraying him as a “terrorist”.
The police said they had seized the weapon Pandey brandished at the five-star hotel in south Delhi in the early hours of Sunday as well as the BMW car he had brought to the hotel that night.
The police said they seized the car from Lucknow, adding that the three women accompanying Pandey at the time of the incident were identified and their roles were being verified.
All the three women were foreign nationals, the police said, adding that one of them was an interior designer, another a realtor and the third one was into filmmaking.
“The woman accompanying Gaurav (Kanwar, son of a former Congress MLA) showed me the middle finger, which instigated me to get my pistol from my car,” Pandey told the police after his arrest in the case.
“Pandey claimed that Kanwar was in the ladies’ washroom in the hotel when his female friends went to the washroom. They raised an objection over Kanwar’s presence there which led to an argument, following which Pandey was called by his friends,” a senior officer privy to the probe said.
Pandey claimed that he asked Kanwar to come out of the washroom but the latter refused to do so and instead, challenged him, saying, “What is your business if I am inside the washroom?”, the police said, adding that Pandey also alleged that Kanwar hurled abuses at him.
Subsequently, Kanwar’s female friend showed the middle finger to Pandey and his women friends at the porch of the hotel and that instigated him to get the pistol from the car, the accused told the police.
Pandey was on his way home in Lucknow Sunday night when he got to know about the video of the incident being circulated on the social media. He messaged all his friends, requesting them to ensure that the video was not circulated and asking them to delete it from their phones.
The next day, when he realised that the video had gone viral, he took his son and wife along with him and went hiding at various places in and around Lucknow, Pandey told the police.
His father, uncle and brother were in touch with lawyers and his friends, while he was juggling between places, he told the interrogators.
“I have been subjected to a media trial. I am being portrayed as a terrorist. I am not denying that the incident happened but it is being shown from one side,” Pandey said in a video message he released before his surrender.
In the video, he said the CCTV footage of the hotel should properly be checked to ascertain who was at fault.
“They should check the CCTV footage and see who entered the ladies’ washroom and after exiting it, who threatened whom. When I came out, I took the licensed gun from my vehicle. I did not aim the gun towards him (Kanwar) and the weapon was pointed downwards.
“Everyone is saying I threatened a woman with a gun but I did not even address the woman who was with him. She pushed me and even made obscene gestures at me using her hands. Her male friend said things to me,” Pandey said.
He added that he would tell his side of the story to the police and that he had full faith in the country’s judicial system.
After the video of the incident went viral on the social media, resulting in a public outrage, Pandey had requested his friends on WhatsApp not to circulate it and apologised for what he did.
The video of the incident at the Hyatt Regency hotel here prompted the police to step in and launch a hunt for Pandey.
A Delhi court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Pandey Wednesday.
Pandey’s father Rakesh Pandey is a former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP and his brother Ritesh is an MLA in Uttar Pradesh.
(With PTI inputs)