“Murder of Umesh Pal was direct attack on criminal justice system”: UP STF

Amid attacks from the Opposition over the killing of arrested gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed’s son, Asad, in an exchange of fire in Haryana’s Jhansi on Thursday, the UP’s Special Task Force (STF) personnel on Friday condemned the killing of Umesh Pal, calling it an assualt on the state’s criminal justice system.

Asad and his aide Ghulam, who were involved in the killing of Umesh Pal, a key witness to the murder of BSP leader Raju Pal, were gunned down by the STF on Thursday. Speaking to ANI on Friday, Additional Director General, UP STF, Amitabh Yash said, “Yesterday, Asad and Ghulam were killed in an encounter. Both had killed two police personnel and Umesh Pal. Their crime was recorded on the CCTV camera. Yesterday, STF DSP Navendu Kumar lodged an FIR against them.”

“The post-mortem has been completed. Now their family members can take custody of their bodies and perform the last rites,” he added.
The ADG said, “This was a huge operation in which the STF had deployed all its teams. It was a very important case.”

“It (murder of Umesh Pal) was a direct attack on our criminal justice system. If key witnesses continued to be killed in this manner, no one will ever have the courage to depose in court. The entire criminal justice system will collapse,” he added.
Asad received two bullet injuries, confirmed doctors at Maharani Laxmi Bai Medical College, Jhansi where his body was brought for post-mortem examination.
Asad’s aide Ghulam, who was also shot dead in the firing, suffered one bullet injury, they said.

Both Asad and Ghulam were wanted for Umesh Pal’s murder in Prayagraj. Both carried a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh on their heads.
Earlier, the state’s Special Director General (Law and Order), Prashant Kumar, revealed that teams of civil police and special forces were deployed following intelligence inputs of a plan by Asad to free his jailed gangster father by attacking the convoy, which brought him to UP for hearing.

“We had information that to help the accused Atiq and Ashraf escape, there could be an attack on the police convoy assigned to bring them back to UP to stand trial in the Umesh Pal murder case. On the basis of this information, teams of civil police and special forces were deployed,” said Prashant Kumar.

Sharing further details of the exchange of fire that went down at Jhansi on Thursday, he said that based on the intelligence input, two teams were deployed and Asad was intercepted while he was on a bike along with his aide Ghulam.

“Action was taken on the basis of information and between 12.30 and 1 pm, they were killed in a retaliatory firing,” Kumar said, adding that the Special Task Force conducted the entire operation.
He said special teams were constituted to probe the Umesh Pal murder and had been on the lookout for the culprits.
On March 28, Atiq Ahmed was convicted by an MP-MLA court and sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment in the abduction and murder of Umesh Pal.

Atiq Ahmed and his family came under the scanner in the Umesh Pal murder case.
Atiq, who was wanted in over 100 cases over the last 43 years, was finally convicted in the Umesh Pal murder case.
Umesh Pal and one of his two armed security escorts was shot dead in Prayagraj’s Sulem Saray area on February 24. The second police gunner, assigned for his security, too, succumbed to his injuries later in hospital.
Several rounds were fired and bombs hurled at Umesh Pal and his gunners, according to officials.

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