Gangster Atiq Ahmed and two others were sentenced to life imprisonment after a court in Prayagraj found them guilty in the 2006 Umesh Pal kidnapping case.
Seven others, including Atiq Ahmed’s brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf, have been acquitted in the case.
Ahmed, a former MP and MLA who faces at least 100 criminal cases including murder and kidnapping, was brought from a Gujarat prison to Prayagraj following a 24-hour road journey by the Uttar Pradesh police on Monday.
Visuals from outside the court today showed a long police cavalcade bringing the gangster-turned-politician in large vans as crowds gathered on both sides of the road
Ahmed’s conviction comes a month after the sensational murder of Umesh Pal, a key witness in the 2005 murder case of Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Raju Pal.
Umesh Pal was shot dead while he was getting out of the backseat of a Hyundai Creta SUV in Prayagraj on February 24 this year. Two police bodyguards accompanying him were also killed in the shootout.
CCTV footage showed Umesh Pal and one of his two police bodyguards getting out of the SUV when suddenly multiple shooters came from behind and fired at him. Another man could be seen using crude bombs during the assault, which exploded in a cloud of smoke, leading to panic and chaos on the road with people running to safety. Many abandoned their vehicles and ran toward shops.
The UP police have claimed that Atiq Ahmed got Umesh Pal killed as the latter had named him as the key accused in the 2005 murder. In 2006, Umesh Pal had alleged that he was kidnapped at gunpoint when he refused to retract his statement to the police.
The court verdict in Prayagraj today has come in the 2006 kidnapping case.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had lashed out at opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav in the state assembly a day after the February shootout in Prayagraj, even referencing his feud with his father, following tough questions over the public killing of Umesh Pal.
“Is it not true that Atiq Ahmed who has been accused by the victim’s family, is part of the mafia fostered by the Samajwadi Party and we have only worked towards breaking its back?” Yogi Adityanath, pointing a finger at Mr Yadav, said.
“Speaker sir, he is the godfather of all professional criminals and mafia. They have crime in their veins… And I am telling this house today, we will run this mafia to the ground,” the Chief Minister, again wagging his finger at Mr Yadav, had said