Gangster-turned-Neta Atiq Ahmad gets lifer


An MP-MLA court here on Tuesday held gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad and two others guilty in the 2006 Umesh Pal kidnapping case, and sentenced them to rigorous life imprisonment.
Ahmad’s brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf and six others have been acquitted in the case.
Government counsel Gulab Chandra Agrahari said special MP-MLA court judge Dinesh Chandra Shukla held Ahmad, Saulat Hanif, a lawyer, and Dinesh Pasi guilty under Indian Penal Code section 364-A (kidnapping or abduction in order to murder). “The court has awarded the three rigorous life imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine to each,” Agrahari said.
Earlier, when Ahmad and Ashraf were produced in the court, a number of lawyers raised slogans of “fansi do” (give them capital punishment).
Ahmad’s counsel Dayashankar Mishra said they have the right to appeal and they will approach the High court against the conviction. He said Ahmad will be kept in Sabarmati Jail (Ahmedabad) in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision.
In her reaction to the judgement, Umesh Pal’s mother Shanti Devi said she has full faith in the country’s judiciary, but expressed apprehension Ahmad “could do anything from inside the jail”.
“I request the court to award him capital punishment for getting my son killed,” she said, but added she won’t challenge the Tuesday’s court order. “My son fought like a lion. He was awaiting judgement in this case. He was sure that Ahmad would get punished in the case. But he (Ahmad) got him (Umesh Pal) killed. We will not challenge today’s court order. I want to request the CM to take care of us as we have on one with us,” she said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had last month charged the Samajwadi Party with garlanding mafias like Atiq Ahmad and had said in the state assembly that “mafia (Atiq Ahmad) ko mitti me mila denge (will destroy the mafia).” After the killing of then BSP MLA Raju Pal on January 25, 2005, Umesh Pal, then a zila panchayat member, had told police he was a witness to the murder. He later alleged that he was kidnapped at gunpoint on February 28, 2006 as he refused to retract and buckle under pressure from Ahmad.
An FIR in the case was registered on July 5, 2007, against Ahmad, his brother and others. The police had submitted a chargesheet in the matter against 11 people. One of them later died.
Ahmad and Ashraf are also accused of being involved in a conspiracy, while they were both in prison, to kill Umesh Pal. Umesh Pal was gunned down outside his Prayagraj residence on February 24 last.
In this case, Umesh Pal’s wife Jaya filed a case at the Dhoomanganj police station in Prayagraj against Ahmad, his brother, his wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others.
Earlier in the day, Ahmad, Ashraf and others were brought to the court from Naini jail in separate police vans and produced before the judge amid tight security.
The two brothers were on Monday brought to the Naini Central Jail here after long road journeys from two separate prisons.
Jaya earlier said she won’t be going to the court but will “pray” that Ahmad gets capital punishment. “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,” she told reporters.
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.