Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) (Agency): The property of an accused in the killing of the key witness in the murder of Raju Pal, a BSP MLA, was razed to the ground in Prayagraj on Wednesday.
The accused, identified as Zafar Ahmad, is close to gangster and former SP MLA Atiq Ahmed, who was named in the FIR filed in the murder of the key witness, Sushil Pal, along with his wife and son. However, the police did not put any statement clarifying if the accused, Zafar Ahmad, is absconding or has been arrested.
State minister Kapil Dev Aggarwal said the accused dared to commit a crime despite the government’s crackdown on crime.
“Bulldozer or not, it is a matter of law and order. Despite the government’s ongoing crackdown, he dared to commit a crime. That era is over. Yogi Adityanath’s government is working with honesty. Whoever commits a crime will be punished in accordance with the law,” he said.
BJP MP from Kannauj, Subrat Pathak said he would not be surprised if Atiq meets the same fate.
“The killing of a police personnel and Umesh Pal (a key witness in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal), who was under state protection, is a direct attack on the government of Uttar Pradesh. When Vikas Dubey (hardened criminal and gangster who was shot dead by the police in an encounter), it isn’t tough to guess what will happen to others like him. Now, if Atiq, too, meets the same fate, I will not be surprised,” he tweeted in Hindi.
JPS Rathore, state Co-operative minister, said that the government will take strictest action against the criminals, adding that their houses will be demolished.
“The strictest possible action will be taken against criminals in Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh government will not hesitate to take any action. The houses of the mafia will be razed to the ground and no matter where they are hiding, the UP Police will track them down and deal with them,” the minister said.
Earlier, Prayagraj Police conducted a raid on gangster-turned-politician and former Samajwadi Party leader Atiq Ahmed’s residence in the Mahanagar area of Lucknow, seizing two luxury cars from the Universal Apartments, police sources said on Wednesday.
The raids were conducted on February 27 late night, sources said, adding that the action followed a shootout in which the prime witness in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, advocate Umesh Pal, was shot dead in Prayagraj on February 24.
The police conducted the raid after receiving an input that some shooters had taken shelter in that apartment. However, they had left the place before the raid, police sources said on Wednesday.
The police, however, impounded two luxury cars and took them to the Mahanagar police station.
“STF and Prayagraj Police raided Universal Apartment flat number 202 and impounded two luxury vehicles, which were brought to Mahanagar police station. The vehicles are registered in the names of Atiq Ahmed’s family members,” a source said.
A guard at the building said the CCTV has been out of order for nearly two years.
“They left the flat on February 24 evening. There were 3 to 4 people. They (shooters) were not seen thereafter. The police took away the cars day before yesterday. Personnel from the STF and Mahanagar police station were here. Nobody was found in the flat,” a guard at the building said.
Earlier, in a major development in the Umesh Pal murder case, an accused was shot in an exchange of fire near the Nehru Park area in Prayagraj’s Dhoomanganj on Monday, a top police officer said.
The accused, identified as Arbaaz, was driving the car used in the murder of Umesh Pal, who was a prime witness in several cases, including the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal.
The police said Arbaaz was injured and succumbed at the hospital.
“Accused Arbaaz was shot during the encounter that took place near Nehru Park in Dhoomanganj, Prayagraj earlier today. He was driving the car that was used in the murder (of Umesh Pal) and was fired upon,” ADG law and order Prashant Kumar said on Monday.
“Arbaaz died during treatment at the hospital. The UP administration and the police have initiated a campaign against all such miscreants, gangsters, and mafia. There is also a crackdown on those sheltering such people,” he added.
Umesh Pal and one of his two armed security escorts were shot dead in Prayagraj’s Sulem Saray area on February 24. Several rounds were fired and bombs hurled at Umesh and his gunners.
The incident came days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lashed out at the Samajwadi Party in the Assembly on February 25, saying that his government would destroy the mafia.
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