Friday, June 2, 2023

Prayagraj court sentences Atiq Ahmed to life imprisonment in Umesh Pal kidnapping case

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An MP/MLA court in Prayagraj on Tuesday sentenced gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed to life imprisonment in the 2006 kidnapping case of lawyer Umesh Pal, a key witness in the killing of Bahujan Samaj Party lawmaker Raju Pal.

The court further sentenced former corporator Dinesh Pasi and Khan Saulat Hanif to 14 years imprisonment under Section 364A (kidnapping a person, putting the person being put in danger of being murdered) of IPC among others.

The accused were convicted under Sections 147, 148, 149, 341, 342 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.

Seven others, including Ahmed’s brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf have been acquitted in the case. 

Both Atique and his brother have also been accused of conspiring to kill Umesh Pal. Umesh was abducted in 2006 and forced not to give evidence against Atique and others. The FIR in this case was lodged by Umesh Pal in July 2007.

While the hearing was going on, local lawyers outside the courtroom premises raised slogans against Atiq Ahmed, saying “Fansi Do”. 

Expressing their support to Umesh Pal, who was also a lawyer, the Advocates demanded strictest punishment for Atiq Ahmed.

A scuffle broke out between the Advocates of both parties inside the MP-MLA Prayagraj court during the hearing of Umesh Pal kidnapping case. 

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had dismissed as withdrawn a petition filed by Atiq Ahmed, seeking protection during shifting from Sabarmati jail in Gujarat to Uttar Pradesh in connection with the Umesh Pal kidnapping case.

The Bench led by Justice Ajay Rastogi refused to grant security to the gangster-turned-politician on the grounds that this court was not inclined to entertain such pleas. The Apex Court further directed the petitioner to approach the High Court for relief.

Umesh Pal was a key witness in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, who was killed in 2005 allegedly on the directions of Ahmed. The SP leader was the prime accused in the 2005 murder of Raju Pal. He was further accused of hatching Umesh Pal’s murder conspiracy from inside Gujarat’s Sabarmati jail, where he is currently lodged.

On February 24 this year, Umesh was gunned down outside his residence in Sulem Sarai area of Prayagraj in broad daylight. Umesh and one of the policemen, identified as Sandeep Nishad, had died, while another security personnel, Raghvendra Singh, suffered critical injuries in the incident.

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