One of the most notorious mafia don of northern India Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed was killed on Saturday while being taken for a medical in the Prayagraj district of Uttar Pradesh.
As many as three people were arrested on the spot by UP police.
Moments before their killing, both gangsters, who were accused in almost 180 criminal cases including UP lawmaker Umesh Pal’s murder case, were speaking to the media while being taken for a medical and their murder was captured on camera.
According to viral visuals, both gangsters Atiq and Ashraf were handcuffed and taken for medical. As both proceeded, media persons posed questions to them. Atiq was shot in the head from behind, nearly at point-blank range. Ashraf, too, was shot dead.
Just a few days ago on April 13, Atiq Ahmed’s murder-accused son Asad Ahmed was killed in an encounter by police in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district while they were trying to ambush a police convoy transporting Atiq Ahmed from Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat.
Asad was killed along with his accomplice Ghulam, both of whom were wanted in the Advocate Umesh Pal murder case of Prayagraj. Each of them carried a reward of Rs 5 lakhs on their heads. The police said that foreign-made weapons were recovered.
UP Police spokesperson said, “Asad, son of mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and Ghulam S/o Maksudan, both wanted in the Umesh Pal murder case of Prayagraj and carrying a reward of Rupees five lakhs each; killed in an encounter with the UPSTF team. Sophisticated foreign-made weapons recovered.”
Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were brought to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh on the same day Asad was killed in the encounter.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday called a high-level meeting and ordered a high-level inquiry into the circumstances Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot dead.
“Chief Minister also gave instructions for the formation of a three-member Judicial Commission (Judicial Inquiry Commission) in the matter,”the UP government official said.
The three-member judicial enquiry committee has been asked to submit a report to the government in two months.
The committee will be headed by retired Justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi of Allahabad HC and will also comprise retired IPC officer Subesh Kumar Singh and retired District Judge Brijesh Kumar Soni.
Opposition leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav said that crime has reached its peak in the state and the morale of the “criminals” has grown by leaps and bounds.
Mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed was accused in the 2005 Bahujan Samaj Party’s MLA Raju Pal murder case and also in the Umesh Pal murder case which happened in February this year. Atiq Ahmed had more than 100 First Information Reports (FIR) and brother Ashraf had more than 57 FIRs against him.
How it unfolded on the 15th April night
Shooters who killed Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf on Saturday night were posing as Journalists at the spot of the incident.
“As Atiq and Ashraf reached the hospital for a check-up, shooters were surrounded by other journalists and got close to Atiq and his brother. One was having a camera and was posing as a cameraman. While one was roaming with a mike where it was written NCR News. Third was assisting both,” police sources said.
“As Atiq reached the hospital, reporters started questioning them after 2 lines, one guy fired on Atiq’s head from very close and he fell down. Another two guys also threw the camera and mike and started firing,”an eyewitness mentioned.
A senior UP Police officer who doesn’t want to reveal his identity told The Australia Today, “Our officers used restained and arrested all three attackers without getting any journalist hurt at the spot.”
“If we would have responded to them by returning fire a lot of journalists would have got hurt,” he added.
Prayagraj Police Commissioner Ramit Sharma said, “Three people have been arrested and are being questioned. A journalist was also injured as he fell down and a constable sustained a bullet injury.”
On the other side, the father of one of the assailants Lovelesh Tiwari on Sunday said his son was jobless and a drug addict.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Yagya Tiwari (father of Lovelesh, one of the arrested shooters) said, “He is my son. We saw the incident on TV. We are not aware of the actions of Lovelesh nor do we have anything to do with this. He never lived here and neither was he involved in our family affairs. He did not tell us anything.”
“He came here five to six days ago. We have not been on talking terms with him for years. There is already a case registered against him. He was jailed in that case.”
“He doesn’t work. He was a drug addict. We have four children. We have nothing to say about this,” Yagya Tiwari added.
Meanwhile, speaking to ANI, Pintu Singh (brother of another shooter Sunny Singh) said, “He used to wander around and did no work.”
“We live separately and don’t know how he became a criminal. We have no idea about the incident.”
All three assailants confessed to their crime on Sunday, adding that they did it to “become popular”.
“We wanted to kill Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf with the aim of completely wiping off the Atiq-Ashraf gang and making a name for ourselves,” the FIR quoted the arrested assailants as telling the police.
“The moment we received an update about Atiq and Ashraf being taken into police custody, we planned to kill them by posing as local journalists and blending with the crowd,”the FIR stated further.
District Government Counsel (DGC) criminal Gulam Chandra Agrahari said on Sunday, three accused who posed as pressmen and sprayed bullets on the gangster Atiq Ahmed and his brother, have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
He said that the court has decided April 29 as the date for further hearing.
“Today all the three accused were produced before the Remand Magistrate. The three accused have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days by the court. Now the date of April 29 has been fixed,” Gulam Chandra Agrahari told ANI.
Who was Atiq Ahmed
Atiq Ahmed, a five-time Member of Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh and once a Member of Parliament of India was known to be the most notorious gangster from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Atiq first made an impression in the crime alleys of Prayagraj (Allahabad as it was known back then) when he was accused of murder at the age of 17 in 1979. In 1983, the first FIR was registered against him and it was his formal foray into the criminal world.
He remained at large from law enforcement authorities, primarily due to his political connections. He first contested the assembly elections from the Allahabad West seat in 1989 and emerged victorious. He went on to win the MLA election five consecutive times, switching parties twice in between.
Having tasted power as an MLA, Atiq Ahmed took a step ahead and contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 on a Samajwadi Party ticket. He fought from Phulpur and secured access to the parliament and became a member of the 14th Lok Sabha. Notably, this was the same seat from where India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru won the general elections, a record three times.
By this point in time, Atiq Ahmed had amassed significant crime credit.
After becoming a Member of Parliament (MP), Atiq left the assembly seat and gave the ticket to his brother Khalid Azim aka Ashraf. However, his opponent, Raju Pal, an OBC candidate, pitched by BSP, managed to defeat Ashraf.
To settle scores, Atiq launched several deadly attacks on Pal before eventually brutally murdering him in the Dhoomanganj area of the city on January 25, 2005. After court proceedings, both brothers were sent to prison but soon got out due to political affiliations.
However, it was the killing of BSP MLA Raju Pal that would eventually lead to his downfall and his murder which was broadcast live on primetime TV.