Did UP ‘Bahubali’ conspire to kill Atiq-Ashraf?

UP police have not ruled out the possibility of involvement of another gangster turned politician behind Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf’s killing

NEW DELHI | Updated: 20 April, 2023 3:19 am IST
Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were gunned down by three shooters on Saturday evening

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the killing of gangster turned politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf, is exploring all possible angles as they begin interrogation of the three shooters.

Arun Maurya, Lavlesh Tiwari and Sunny Singh posed as television journalists as they shot the dreaded gangster and his brother, who died while they were being taken for a medical checkup in Prayagraj on Saturday evening.

Sources in UP police told The New Indian that they are exploring the possibility of the involvement of other UP-based Bahubalis or gangsters turned politicians behind the killing as they began their interrogation of the trio, who were arrested on the spot.

The SIT is also trying to ascertain how these three attackers grouped to kill Atiq and Ashraf, as they belong to different districts of UP.

In his two decades as ‘Bahubali’, Atiq had made numerous enemies. Among them are other gangsters turned politicians who would fight over issues of land grabbing and dominance in the area.

During the investigation by the police, it has come to light that Atiq had acquired a huge amount of land and properties, mostly in Prayagraj, Kaushambi, Varanasi, Kanpur and various other parts of UP. Incidentally, even the administration is not aware of these lands and properties. The UP police believe that other Bahubalis might be eyeing these properties.

The UP police are preparing a list of possible enemies of Atiq and Ashraf who might be eyeing the land and properties of Atiq to stamp their authority in the eastern part of the state.

The UP police also stated that its massive action following the killing of Umesh Pal last month has lowered the influence of Atiq and the dominance of his gang. Police suspect that the other Bahubalis might have smelled an opportunity and hired these killers to put an end to Atiq’s influence.

The UP police’s logic behind the involvement of Bahubalis is based on the fact that the recovery of Zigana pistols leads towards a UP-based Bahubali.

Sources told The New Indian that the said Bahubali had relations with Punjab-based gangsters who often use Zigana pistols to commit crimes.

Sources said that one slain Punjab-based gangster turned politician, Jaswinder Singh, aka Rocky Fazlika, once had a close association with jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi. UP police suspected that it is the Bishnoi gang that provided banned Turkey-made pistols to Atiq’s killers.

“Rocky, while being on the run after murdering in Punjab, hid in Uttar Pradesh. It is during this time that he came into contact with UP-based Bahubalis,” police sources said. Rocky, however, was shot dead in an alleged gang war in Himachal Pradesh in 2016.

Currently, Atiq’s four sons are behind bars. His eldest son Asad died in a police encounter while Atiq’s wife Shaista is on the run.

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