Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his former MLA brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf were shot dead while being taken for routine medical checkup to Calvin Hospital in Prayagraj on Saturday, Apri 15 night by three unidentified assailants. The former MP was killed hours after his son Asad Ahmed’s last rites.
The incident took place around 10-30 p.m. at the entrance of the Moti Lal Nahru Mandaliya Chikitsalaya when Ateeq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were brought for medical examination. About a dozen security personnel were accompanying them.
Ateeq Ahmed and his brother sustained bullet injuries in the head and were declared dead by the doctors sometime later.
Three persons, said to have been identified as Lavlesh Tiwari, Arun Maurya and Sunny, were detained by the police at the spot and three firearms seized.
Special Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar reached the residence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to brief him about the incident. The three alleged assailants detained from the spot of the incident by the U.P. police are Navin Tiwari, Arun Maurya and Sonu.
The opposition lashed out on the U.P. government with the Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav alleging that crime has reached its zenith in the state with some people deliberately creating atmosphere of fear. “Crime has reached its peak in U.P. and the morale of the criminals is high. When someone can be killed in firing openly amidst the security cordon of the police, then what about the safety of the general public. Due to this, an atmosphere of fear is being created among the public, it seems that some people are deliberately creating such an atmosphere,” Mr. Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
Atiq Ahmad, 62, whose syndicate was on the radar of the U.P. government since the February 24, killing of Umesh Pal, the key witness in the 2005 murder of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Raju Pal, faced more than 100 criminal cases and was amongst the first U.P. politician booked under the ‘Gangster Act’ in the late 1980s.
Police Commissioner Ramit Sharma said the assailants had come on motorcycles posing as mediapersons. As per preliminary reports, they came close to the duo on the pretext of recording their byte ls and fired at them from close range.
Earlier on February 25, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath asserted in the State legislative assembly that ‘ Mafia ko mitti mei mila denge’ (we will destroy the criminals), when the leader of opposition Akhilesh Yadav alleged the murder of Umesh Pal, symbolises deteriorating law and order in the state.
Ahmed got elected as a member of Vidhan Sabha from the Allahabad West constituency as an independent candidate in 1989 Vidhan Sabha polls retained the seat for a record four terms between 1989-2004 and elected as a Lok Sabha member from the Phulpur Lok Sabha seat in 2004 once represented by Jawaharlal Nehru). In the mid of volatile electoral polity of the state during 1990s, which witnessed no chief minister completing their tenure with president’s rule imposed three times, Mr. Ahmed, due of his political clout, developed a syndicate which actively indulged in property business amid many allegations of forced capture of properties in Allahabad and other crimes.
The shooting was caught on camera as mediapersons were following the duo being escorted to the hospital by the police for a medical checkup. At least two persons were seen firing from close range at Ahmad and his brother who fell to the ground, while the police soon overpowered the attackers.
The bullet-riddled bodies of Ahmad and Ashraf were taken away from the spot as tension gripped the area after the sensational killing.
Both of them had been brought to Prayagraj for a court hearing in connection with the 2005 Umesh Pal murder case.
Earlier in the day, the last rites of Atiq Ahamd’s son Asad Ahmad were performed at Kasari Masari graveyard in Prayagraj amid heavy police security, with only a few relatives and local residents present inside the burial ground. The burial lasted for an hour, police said.
Asad Ahmad and his accomplice Ghulam, both wanted in the Umesh Pal murder case, were shot dead in an exchange of fire with the Uttar Pradesh Police near Jhansi on April 13.
Asad Ahmad was the third of the five sons of Atiq Ahmad and was absconding since Umesh Pal’s murder. Ghulam’s burial took place at a graveyard under the Shivkuti police station area.
Incidently, Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf were being questioned by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the Dhoomanganj police station, around 3 km from the burial venue.
When asked by reporters to comment on Asad’s death, his uncle Ashraf said, “Allah had taken back what belonged to him.”
“The last rites of Asad Ahmad have been completed, and it went for an hour. A few distant relatives of Atiq and some people of the locality were allowed to go to the graveyard. This was necessary from the security point of view,” Joint Commissioner of Police, Prayagraj, Akash Kulhari told PTI.
He added that the burial of Ghulam took place at a graveyard under Shivkuti police station area.
Earlier, Asad’s uncle, Usman, reached the graveyard with the body of his nephew.
Media was strictly restricted from entering the heavily guarded graveyard.
Atiq Ahmad on April 14 sought permission from a magistrate to attend the funeral of his son. His lawyer Manish Khanna had told PTI that since Friday (April 14) was a holiday on account of Ambedkar Jayanti, the request had been sent to the remand magistrate.
However, the burial took place before Atiq Ahmad’s application could be presented in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on April 15 .
Speaking to reporters Prayagraj after Asad Ahmad’s burial, Hamid Ali, one of his relatives, said, “A number of family members took part in the last rites. However, among the very close relatives, only his uncle attended the last rites.”
Mr. Ali added that initially arrangements were made to give a bath to the body at the ancestral place of Atiq Ahmad, but later it was told that the body will be taken directly to the graveyard.
All the rituals, which are done before the burial of the body, were completed at the graveyard itself, he said.
Mr. Ali also said, “No family members or relatives were stopped from coming to the graveyard, and the rituals pertaining to burial of the body were done properly. We do not have any complaints with the administration, and everything was done in a good manner. Around 100 persons attended the last rites (of Asad).”
Facing flak over the brazen killing of Umesh Pal, a prime witness in the 2005 case of a BSP MLA’s murder, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on February 25 accused the Samajwadi Party of patronising mafias and vowed to destroy them.
“The mafioso whose name is emerging … is it not true that the Samajwadi Party had made him an MP… He was a mafioso nurtured by the SP. Our government is working to break their back. ‘Mitti me mila denge’,” Mr. Adityanath had thundered in the U.P. Legislative Assembly.
Among Atiq Ahmad’s other sons, the eldest son Umar is lodged in the Lucknow jail, while the second son Ali is lodged in Naini Central Jail in separate cases.
The fourth son Ahjam and the youngest son Aban are housed in a juvenile home in Prayagraj.
Remains of Atiq Ahmad’s parents are also buried in the same graveyard (Kasari Masari), according to Janu Khan, who claimed to have dug the grave of Asad Ahmad.
Atiq Ahmad was serving life imprisonment in the Umesh Pal kidnapping case.
Asad Ahmad was caught on CCTV when Umesh Pal was killed and had been on the run for the past about 50 days, police said.
On April 13, police said an STF team led by two deputy superintendents of police reached Badagaon area in Jhansi district after getting information about the presence of gangsters.
Asad Ahmad and Ghulam, who were carrying a reward of ₹5 lakh each, tried to flee on a motorcycle, police had said.
They opened fire at the STF team when it surrounded them and the policemen retaliated, they said, adding the two men were killed in the exchange of fire.
Chief Medical Officer of Jhansi Dr. Sudhakar Pandey, when contacted refused to divulge the details of the post-mortem report of Asad Ahmad and Ghulam.
(With inputs from PTI).