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A year after Atiq’s killing, motive remains unclear

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Shillong, April 15: Exactly a year ago on this day, former MP and mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf were shot dead by three assailants while they were being taken for medical examination.

A year later, the mystery regarding the motive behind the killing remains unsolved.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to investigate the murders of Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf, has filed a charge sheet against the three assailants, arrested from the site of the killings.

Police claim that the assailants, currently lodged at Chitrakoot jail, committed the murders to establish a name and reputation for themselves in the underworld.

However, many questions regarding the murders remain unanswered.

The assailants, disguised as media persons, fired at the mafia brothers from close range using sophisticated firearms at the Motilal Nehru hospital. The video of the shootings quickly went viral on social media platforms.

The three assailants, identified as Lavlesh Tiwari (22) from Banda, Sunny Purane (23) from Hamirpur, and Arun Kumar Maurya (18) from Kasganj, were arrested from the spot. They claim to have never met each other before the day of the murder.

Based on a complaint filed by SHO Dhumanganj Rajesh Kumar Maurya, an FIR was lodged against the three assailants at Shahganj police station on April 17 under various sections, including 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 120 B (conspiracy), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (fraud), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating), along with sections of the Arms Act (3/25/27) and the Criminal Law Amendment Act (7 CLA).

Prayagraj police commissioner Ramit Sharma formed a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT), with ADCP, crime, Satish Chandra leading the team, to investigate the case.

The SIT claimed that the three assailants planned the murders themselves and did not receive help from anyone else.

In June last year, the SIT filed a charge sheet against the three assailants. The charge sheet comprised 2,056 pages of documents, including 2,000 pages of case diary, 56 pages of the charge sheet, scientific evidence, and statements.

According to the charge sheet, Lavlesh Tiwari is from Banda, Arun Maurya from Kasganj, and Sunny Singh from Hamirpur.

They had past criminal records and planned to murder Atiq and Ashraf to gain fame and money. They used sophisticated firearms, provided to Sunny Singh by Delhi-based gangster Jitendra Man Gogi, for killing his rival, Tillu Tajpuria.

The SIT included over 200 witnesses in the case diary and charge sheet. The eyewitnesses and witnesses were mentioned separately. The eyewitnesses included 21 policemen engaged in the security of Atiq and Ashraf, 11 media personnel and more than 16 hospital personnel. The team submitted 70 CCTV footage and 15 video recordings from CCTV cameras as court evidence.

Even as the heat continues against Atiq’s remaining family members and gang members, they are still on the run. They include his wife Shaista Parveen, sister Ayesha Noori, Ashraf’s wife Zainab Fatima, and henchmen Guddu Muslim, Mohd Arman, and Mohd Sabir.

According to a senior police official in Prayagraj, properties worth several 100 crores belonging to Atiq, his kin, and associates have been attached.

Moreover, several victims of Atiq’s atrocities have come forward since his death, and new cases are being registered against his sons Ali and Umar, who are currently in Naini and Lucknow jail in separate cases.

So far, 11 persons have been arrested and are in jail in the Umesh Pal murder case.

They are Khan Saulat Hanif, Dr Ikhlaq, lawyer Vijay Mishra, Arshad Katra, Sadaqat Khan, Rakesh Nana, Qais Ahmad, Shahrukh, Mohd Sajar, Niyaz Ahmad, and Mohd Nafees (deceased).

Atiq ruled the roost unopposed for over four decades, creating a reign of terror not only in Prayagraj but also in adjoining districts.

Leading his IS-227 gang, Atiq amassed wealth and properties worth several hundred crores in many cities across Uttar Pradesh and other states. Police investigations revealed that Atiq made investments through his associates in diamond mining, dairy, and the hotel industry in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Mumbai.

Police officials said that Atiq and his gang members would threaten farmers and landowners to transfer their properties into their names at a much lower rate than the actual cost.

Usually, the properties were purchased under the names of unknown individuals who worked as labourers or domestic help.

Two such individuals identified as Hublal and Shyam Saroj have come forward and surrendered the documents of properties purchased in their names by Atiq and his associates in recent years.

Shyam Saroj has filed an FIR against three of Atiq’s associates whose names recently emerged during police investigations.

Some of Atiq’s former associates and friends have turned against his family, lodging cases against them.

One such case involves a builder named Mohd Muslim, once a trusted associate of Atiq, who filed an FIR against Atiq’s eldest son, Umar, shortly after Atiq’s murder.

Several cases of extortion have also been registered against Atiq’s second son, Ali, by his own former associates and gang members.

ACP Varun said that the police had obtained remand for Ali and Umar in connection with the murder case of lawyer Umesh Pal and his two police guards. The two would soon be questioned in jail, after which charge sheets would be filed against them in court.

Meanwhile, the police have announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for the arrest of Ashraf’s wife, Zainab. Atiq’s wife, Shaista, already carries a reward of Rs 50,000.

However, the police have yet to find any leads regarding their whereabouts. Arman, Sabir, and Guddu Muslim, along with Atiq’s sister, Ayesha Noori, are still at large. (IANS)

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