No fault found on part of police in killing of Atiq Ahmad, his brother: UP tells SC

The Uttar Pradesh government has told the Supreme Court that “no fault” has been found on the part of the police in an ongoing probe into the killing of dreaded gangster and former Lok Sabha member Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in Prayagraj on April 15.

In a status report filed in the apex court, the state of Uttar Pradesh has said it has left no stone unturned to ensure a fair and impartial investigation into the incident and other cases, including the killing of gangster Vikas Dubey and various police encounters since 2017, raised by the petitioner.

Ahmad (60) and Ashraf were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college for examination on April 15. The entire shooting was captured live on national television.

In its report, the state has given details of the status of cases mentioned in the plea filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, who sought an independent probe into the killing of Ahmad and Ashraf, and about compliance with various past recommendations of the court and various commissions.

The report said that in the case related to killing of Ahmad and Ashraf, the police has already filed a charge sheet against three accused and the matter is pending before a trial court.

Giving details of the probe, the status report said “investigation is partially ongoing to collect evidence on some other points”.

On details about some encounters, including that of gangster Vikas Dubey in July 2020, the state has said these incidents were thoroughly investigated in accordance with the guidelines and directions issued by the apex court in its verdicts.

The status report said that “each of the seven incidents (including the murder of Ahmad and Ashraf) highlighted by the petitioner in his pleadings, have been thoroughly investigated by the state in accordance with the directions/guidelines issued by this court in various decisions, and where the investigations are complete, no fault has been found on the part of the police”.

The report was filed before the top court which is seized of two separate petitions – one filed by Tiwari and the other by Aisha Noori, sister of gangster- politician Ahmad, seeking a direction for a comprehensive probe into the killing of her brothers.

It said Tiwari has mostly “re-agitated” issues that have already been decided and closed by the apex court in earlier proceedings.

“A perusal of the present writ petition demonstrates that the petitioner (Tiwari) purports to be concerned with deaths of criminals in alleged police encounters in UP and to that end, mentions the deaths of dreaded gangster Vikas Dubey and some of his gang members in police encounters in the state of UP,” it said.

The report said the petitioner has also specifically raised grievances against the report of Justice BS Chauhan Commission.

Former apex court judge Chauhan headed the commission that probed the encounter killing of Vikas Dubey in 2020.

Dubey and his men had ambushed and killed eight policemen at his native Bikru village in Kanpur district in July 2020.

He was arrested in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and was being brought back to Uttar Pradesh police’s custody when he allegedly tried to escape and was shot dead. Doubts were raised about the genuineness of the police encounter.

The Justice Chauhan Commission had concluded that the police version of the deaths of Dubey and his associates in retaliatory firing incidents in the days following his encounter killing could not be doubted.

The status report said apart from the Justice BS Chauhan Commission’s report finding no fault with the actions of the State, “even the criminal inquiries, magisterial inquiries, Human Rights Commission, have not found fault with the state”.

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“At the outset, it is reiterated that Atiq Ahmad was a notorious and dreaded gangster and leader of registered gang IS 227, who had been involved in more than 100 criminal cases including cases of murder, dacoity, kidnapping, extortion, forgery, vandalism of public property…,” it said.

It said there is regular monitoring of police self-defence actions in which accused persons have died.

“In all the police encounter incidents that have taken place since 2017, details related to the killed criminals and the results of the investigation/enquiry are collected and scrutinised every month at the police headquarters level,” the report said.

It said the state continuously monitors all police action and takes immediate remedial or corrective steps, if necessary.

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