Pravin Togadia. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad's international working president Pravin Togadia was found unconscious Monday evening in Ahmedabad's Shahibaug.
News reports said he has been admitted to Chandramani Hospital in Shahibaug, and that he was suffering from low blood sugar.
Togadia had gone "untraceable" in the morning when a contingent of Rajasthan Police had arrived in the city to arrest him in an old case, officials said.
Rajsthan Police had formed four teams to locate the Hindutva leader, a 'Z plus' category protectee.
VHP spokesperson Jay Shah claimed Togadia had been detained by Rajasthan Police, which the latter denied.
The mystery over Togadia's disappearance had deepened through the day with a senior police officer maintaining that neither the local Sola police nor Rajasthan Police had arrested him.
Sola police station officials said a team of Rajasthan Police did visit them today to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC, but could not find him at his residence.
According to a senior Crime Branch officer, Togadia, a resident of Thaltej area in the city, boarded an auto-rickshaw from the VHP headquarters in Paldi area this morning and had been untraceable since.
Addressing a press conference this evening, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) J K Bhatt said neither the Sola police nor the Gangapur police in Rajasthan has arrested Togadia.
"The Rajasthan Police went to Togadia's residence in Thaltej area with the Sola Police to execute an arrest warrant (at around 10:45 AM) this morning. But, Togadia was not found there. However, VHP workers thought that he was arrested, which is not true," Bhatt told reporters.
Citing the investigation by the crime branch, the officer said Togadia was present at the VHP state headquarters in Paldi area of the city since last night.
"A SRP (State Reserve Police) jawan, who was deployed outside the VHP office, told us that Togadia and a bearded man called an auto-rickshaw and left the office at around 10:45 am Before leaving, Togadia told the security staff the he will be back within 30 minutes. We have formed four teams to trace him," the JCP said.
VHP workers also held protests in different parts of Ahmedabad and Surat demanding that the "missing" leader be traced soon.
VHP workers gheraoed the Sola police station, shouted slogans, and blocked traffic on the main Sarkehj-Gandhinagar highway, demanding that the police immediately locate Togadia.
"Our International Working President Pravin Togadia is missing since 10 am today. The responsibility for his whereabouts and security lies with the administration," the VHP's Gujarat unit general secretary Ranchod Bharwad told reporters.
He said it was not yet confirmed weather Togadia was arrested or not.
Later, another group of VHP workers blocked the busy Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, but police broke up the protest.
Similar protests were held in Paldi area here and in Surat city during the evening.
In Paldi, VHP workers blocked roads and damaged some buses. The situation was brought under control after police rushed to the spot.
(With inputs from PTI)