Akhlaq Ahmed, the brother-in-law of infamous gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, has been suspended from his job in the Uttar Pradesh health department for allegedly sheltering accused Guddu Muslim in the Umesh Pal murder case. The Special Task Force (STF) and Prayagraj Police arrested Akhlaq Ahmed earlier this month in a joint operation in Meerut.
Guddu Muslim, who is a close associate of Atiq Ahmed, is accused in the murder of Umesh Pal, a lawyer, and key witness in the 2005 murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal. Notably, Atiq Ahmed was the main suspect in Raju Pal’s murder and was also charged with the murder of Umesh Pal.
On April 15, Atiq Ahmed was shot dead at point-blank range by armed men who posed as journalists while he was being taken for a medical examination in Prayagraj. After killing Umesh Pal, Atiq Ahmed’s son Asad reportedly fled with the help of Akhlaq Ahmed.
Last week, Atiq Ahmed’s lawyer Khan Saulat Hanif was arrested for criminal conspiracy in the February 24 murders of Umesh Pal, a key witness in the Raju Pal murder case, and his two police guards in Prayagraj’s Sulem Sarai area. Hanif and his son were added as accused in the Umesh Pal murder case under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
A case was registered against Atiq Ahmed, his brother Ashraf, his wife Shaista Parveen, their three sons (including Asad), aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others at Prayagraj’s Dhoomanganj police station based on a complaint lodged by Umesh Pal’s wife Jaya Pal on the day of the murders.
Earlier, on March 28, the Prayagraj MP/MLA court had found Atiq Ahmed, Khan Saulat Hanif, and Dinesh Pasi guilty of kidnapping and assaulting Umesh Pal in 2006, and had sentenced them to life in prison. Hanif and Pasi are being held at Prayagraj’s Naini Central Jail.
The case has sent shockwaves across Uttar Pradesh, with many questioning the nexus between politicians and criminals in the state. The police have vowed to bring all those involved in the murders to justice, and have intensified their efforts to crack down on organized crime in the region.