Gangster-turned politician Atiq Ahmed is being moved from a jail in Gujarat to Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The 60-year-old had refused to move, fearing for his life, sources had said. The former MLA from Uttar Pradesh — currently in Gujarat’s Sabarmati jail — fears he will be killed, either by a staged accident or an encounter, while being taken to Prayagraj, sources said. He meant to seek sentencing by video conference in a kidnapping case.
Brajesh Pathak, the Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, said, “We are following the orders of the court. Whatever the court says will be done. These kinds of talks don’t matter”.
Atiq Ahmed’s sentencing in the Umesh Pal kidnapping case is due on March 28. Another man allegedly involved in the murder case was shot in an encounter earlier this month.
Earlier today, Atiq Ahmed refused to come out of the Sabarmati jail when the Uttar Pradesh Police team reached to take him into custody. Sources said the team had a long discussion with the jail authorities, who told them that clearance from the Supreme Court was needed to take his custody. The 60-year-old has been lodged there at the behest of the top court, sources said.
Atiq Ahmed is the main accused in the murder case of BSP legislator Raju Pal, which took place in 2005. He is also accused of killing Umesh Pal, the prime witness in the murder.
Umesh Pal was abducted in 2005 and later released. On the last day of hearing in the kidnapping case, February 24, he was killed. A video of the daylight murder was widely circulated, pushing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to say that he would destroy crime syndicates in the state.
On March 14, Vijay Chaudhary alias Usman, the man who fired the first shot at Umesh Pal, was gunned down in an encounter with Prayagraj police.
Sources said Atiq Ahmed’s legal team was under the impression that the sentencing was to happen by video conferencing and they have just been informed otherwise. He would be taken to Prayagraj by road, in a police van — a journey of more than 30 hours.Sources in the legal team said the process of preparing the production warrant was done in a very secretive manner.
Sources had said Atiq Ahmed’s lawyer will file an application in the Allahabad High Court shortly asking that like the hearing, the court’s decision also be pronounced through video conferencing.His brother Ashraf Ahmed, who is lodged in a jail in Bareilly, will to be taken to court.
“The Chief Minister must have told him (UP Minister JPS Rathore) earlier where and how the car would be overturned. If you take help from Google and America, they will show how and when the car was overturned,” alleged Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in a dig at Yogi Adityanath, when asked about the matter.
Atiq Ahmed, a former MP and five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh, is accused in more than 100 cases.