LUCKNOW – An Indian court has declared a state minister an absconder, issuing non-bailable warrant against him in connection with a 14-year-old criminal case.

The court order came when Ravidas Mehrotra, the Family Welfare Minister of Uttar Pradesh state, did not appear for the hearing despite repeated warrants.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Gyanendra Tripathi has set January 29 as the next date of hearing of the case, the Times of India reported.

Mehrotra faces 17 cases against him, most of them related to protests, with one for an attempt to murder.

The case was lodged at Mahanagar police station on August 9, 2002, in connection with a protest led by Mehrotra.

According to prosecution, Mehrotra, along with others, had blocked the road while protesting against government decision to remove encroachment in Akbarnagar near Kukrail bridge, leading to severe inconvenience to the public.