June 10, 2023

Ahmedabad/Prayagraj: A team of the Uttar Pradesh police reached Sabarmati central jail in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Sunday and took gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed to Prayagraj.

Prayagraj Police with jailed-mafia Atiq Ahmed outside Sabarmati Central Jail as he is being shifted to Prayagraj. (PTI)

He was released from Sabarmati jail and taken into custody by Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday evening, said J S Chavda, superintendent of police, Sabarmati Jail.

Earlier in the day, a 45-member team reached Ahmedabad to bring Ahmed to Prayagraj to produce him before an MP/MLA court on March 28. The court will pronounce its verdict in the 2006 abduction case of lawyer Umesh Pal in which Ahmed is one of the accused.

Ahmed’s brother Ashraf, a co-accused in the case and lodged in Bareilly jail, will also be brought to Prayagraj.

Umesh, the key witness in Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Raju Pal’s murder in 2005, was killed outside his residence in Prayagraj on February 24. Ahmed is an accused in both the murder cases.

The team led by Abhishek Bharti, deputy commissioner of police, trans-Ganga, reached Ahmedabad on Sunday. The mobile phones of the policemen sent to escort Ahmed from Sabarmati jail back to Uttar Pradesh by road have been deposited as a precaution and only senior officials will be allowed to take their mobile phones, a police officer said, seeking anonymity.

Six vehicles including two riot control vans along with an ambulance have been sent to bring Ahmed to Prayagraj, officials said.

Earlier this month, Ahmed had moved the Supreme Court for protection, claiming that he and his family have been framed in the Pal murder case and Uttar Pradesh police may kill him in a fake encounter.

In his plea, Ahmed had claimed Uttar Pradesh police were likely to seek his transit remand to take him from Ahmedabad to Prayagraj and he “genuinely apprehends that he may be eliminated during this transit period”.

“As per the latest report, the medical examination of Atiq has been conducted in Ahmedabad. Soon Atiq will be taken in police security to Prayagraj via the Bundelkhand Expressway,” the police officer said. “The team will take around 25 hours to travel the entire distance of around 1,275 kilometers and is likely to reach Prayagraj by Monday evening.”

Ahmed will be kept under high security at Naini Central Jail. Wardens deployed outside Ahmed’s cell will be selected on basis of their previous record and will be equipped with body cameras, jail officials said.

Prayagraj police commissioner Ramit Sharma confirmed that Ahmed is being brought to Prayagraj. It is a routine process for an accused to be present before the court when a judgment is pronounced, he said.

Ahmed’s supporters appeared apprehensive about his security during the journey from Ahmedabad. Some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have said that they would not be surprised if his car overturns on the way, they said, asking to remain unnamed.

(with inputs from PTI)

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