A Prayagraj court sent gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf to 14-day judicial custody on Thursday in connection with the Umesh Pal murder case.
The two were produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate Dinesh Gautam at 11:10 am amid heavy security and they remained in the court for over two hours as the arguments proceeded.
Ahmad and Ashraf, alias Khalid Azim, will be kept in Naini jail in Prayagraj till April 26, said advocate Vikram Singh, the counsel for Umesh Pal’s wife Jaya.
Singh said the arguments on the application for their police custody were yet to be completed.
The CJM court’s verdict came on a day the Uttar Police said they have killed Ahmad’s son Asad and one of his aides in an encounter in Jhansi. Both Asad and his aide were wanted in the Umesh Pal murder case.
Umesh Pal, a key witness in the 2005 killing of BSP MLA Raju Pal, and his two police security guards were shot dead outside his home in Prayagraj’s Dhoomanganj area on February 24 this year.
The daylight killing on a busy street had raised questions over law and order in Uttar Pradesh and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had vowed in the state assembly that he will “destroy” the mafia in the state.
Ahmad, Ashraf, their family members and others were made accused in the Umesh Pal murder case based on a complaint by Jaya Pal. Ahmad is also an accused in the Raju Pal murder case.
For the court hearing on Thursday, Ahmad, the 60-year-old former Samajwadi Party legislator, was brought from Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat and Ashraf was brought from Bareilly jail.
This was the second time within a month that Ahmad was brought from the Gujarat jail to Prayagraj via road for a court hearing. On March 28, an MP-MLA court held Ahmad and two others guilty in connection with the kidnapping of Umesh Pal in 2006 and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for life.
The FIR in the Umesh Pal murder case was lodged under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation).