New Delhi: Two weeks before gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad was shot dead while under police escort in Prayagraj, the Supreme Court had dismissed his plea seeking protection during his custody with the Uttar Pradesh Police in the Umesh Pal murder case.
Ahmad (60) and his brother Ashraf were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists in the middle of a media interaction on Saturday night while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college for a checkup.
On March 28, the apex court had dismissed Ahmad’s plea for protection and observed that the Uttar Pradesh state machinery would take care of his protection in case of a threat to his life.
When Atiq’s plea had come up for hearing before the top court, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi granted him liberty to approach the Allahabad High Court for protection after he had claimed that his life was under threat while being in the custody of the Uttar Pradesh Police.
“Since he is in judicial custody, the Uttar Pradesh state machinery will take care of his protection in case of threat to his life,” the court had said, refusing to record the former Samajwadi Party MP’s counsel’s vehement requests that his life is under threat.
“It is not a case where this court is going to interfere. Liberty granted to move appropriate application before the high court. Whatever is the process prescribed under law will be followed,” the bench had said.
Atiq had sought protection claiming that he and his family have been falsely “roped in” as accused in the Umesh Pal murder case in Prayagraj.
Umesh Pal, a key witness in the 2005 killing of then BSP MLA Raju Pal, and his two security guards were killed in a shooting on February 24.
In his plea, Ahmad, who was earlier lodged at the Ahmedabad central jail in Gujarat pursuant to the apex court’s direction, had referred to the statement made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the floor of the assembly to “completely ruin and destroy” him and claimed there is a “genuine and perceptible threat” to his and his family members’ lives.