A court in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj on Tuesday held gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad and two others guility in the Umesh Pal case and sentenced them to life.
Government counsel Gulab Chandra Agrahari said Atiq, Saulat Hanif, and Dinesh Pasi have been held guilty in the case. The case is over the abduction of Umesh Pal in 2006, who was a witness in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case. Umesh was killed last month in February in Prayagraj.
While Atiq and two others were convicted, his brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf and six others were acquitted in the case.
Special MP-MLA Court Judge Dinesh Chandra Shukla held Atiq, Hanif, and Dinesh guilty under Indian Penal Code Section 364-A (kidnapping or abduction in order to murder), Agrahari said. The maximum sentence under the section is death sentence.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had last month charged the Samajwadi Party (SP) with garlanding mafias like Atiq and had said in the state assembly that "mafia (Atiq Ahmad) ko mitti me mila denge (will destroy the mafia)".
What's the case about?
The case in which Atiq and two others have been convicted is related to the abduction of Umesh Pal in 2006.
Following the killing ot the then-BSP MLA Raju Pal on January 25, 2005, Umesh Pal had told police he was a witness to the murder. He later alleged that when he refused to retract and buckle under pressure from Ariq, he was kidnapped at gunpoint on February 28, 2006.
An FIR in the case was registered on July 5, 2007, against Atiq, his brother and others. The police had submitted a chargesheet in the matter against 11 people. One of them later died.
Atiq and Ashraf are also accused of being involved in a conspiracy, while they were both in prison, to kill Umesh, who was gunned down outside his Prayagraj residence on February 24 last.
Earlier, Ahmad, Ashraf and others were brought to court from Naini jail in separate police vans and produced in the court amid tight security. Both of them were on Monday brought to the Naini Central Jail here after long road journeys from two separate prisons.
Ahmad, a former Samajwadi Party MP from Phulpur, was shifted to the Sabarmati Central Jail in Gujarat in June 2019 following a Supreme Court order after he was accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and assault of real estate businessman Mohit Jaiswal while in prison in Uttar Pradesh. He is named in more than 100 criminal cases, including the Umesh Pal murder case, police said.
If they get life imprisonment, they will continue same things: Umesh's wife
Umesh Pal's wife Jaya Pal ealier said she won't be going to the court but will "pray" that Ahmad gets capital punishment.
"I am not going to the court. I will be in my house and pray for capital punishment for Ahmad. If they get life imprisonment, they will continue to do the same things that they did with my husband," Jaya Pal told reporters.
On a complaint from Umesh Pal's wife, a case was lodged at the Dhoomanganj police station in Prayagraj against Atiq, his brother, his wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others.Earlier, the upreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of jailed former MP and gangster Atiq Ahmed who sought protection during his custody under the Uttar Pradesh Police in the Umesh Pal murder case.
Court rejects alleged threat to Atiq's life
Granting Atiq liberty to approach the Allahabad High Court, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi refused to record that the former Samajwadi Party MP’s life is under threat despite vehement requests by his counsel. Since he is in judicial custody, Uttar Pradesh state machinery will take care of his protection in case of a threat to his life, the court said.
"It is not a case where this court is going to interfere. Liberty granted to move an appropriate application before the High Court. Whatever is the process prescribed under the law will be followed," the bench said.
Atiq's counsel said there is a serious threat to his life while in police custody in the Umesh Pal murder case.
"I am not shying away from any custody or police interrogation in the case but what I want is grant me protection as there is a serious threat to my life," he said.
Atiq and his brother were brought to the Naini jail yesterday after long road journeys from two separate prisons amid allegations that the former Samjwadi Party legislator would be killed in an encounter on the way.
The police cavalcade which brought Atiq from the Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad around 5.30 pm was followed by cars carrying TV crews, his sister Ayesha Noori and lawyers.
For Atiq, the 1,200 km from the Gujarat jail took about 24 hours. Ashraf was brought from the Bareilly Central Jail, and his convoy reached an hour-and-a-half after Ahmed entered the jail.
(with PTI inputs)