Prayagraj: An MP-MLA court here on Tuesday held gangster-politician Atiq Ahmad and two others guilty in the 2006 Umesh Pal kidnapping case, and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
Ahmad’s brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf and six others have been acquitted in the case.
Special MP-MLA court judge Dinesh Chandra Shukla held Ahmad, Saulat Hanif, a lawyer, and Dinesh Pasi guilty in the case, government counsel Gulab Chandra Agrahari said.
The three were pronounced guilty under Indian Penal Code section 364-A (kidnapping or abduction in order to murder), Agrahari said.
The maximum sentence under the section is death sentence.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had last month charged the Samajwadi Party with garlanding mafias like Atiq Ahmad and had said in the state assembly that “mafia (Atiq Ahmad) ko mitti me mila denge (will destroy the mafia).”
After the killing of then BSP MLA Raju Pal on January 25, 2005, Umesh Pal, then a zila panchayat member, had told police he was a witness to the murder.
Umesh Pal had alleged that when he refused to retract and buckle under pressure from Ahmad, he was kidnapped at gunpoint on February 28, 2006.
An FIR in the case was registered on July 5, 2007, against Ahmed, his brother and others.
The police had submitted a chargesheet in the matter against 11 people. One of them later died.
Ahmad and Ashraf are also accused of being involved in a conspiracy, while they were both in prison, to kill Umesh Pal. Umesh Pal was gunned down outside his Prayagraj residence on February 24 last.
Earlier, Ahmad, Ashraf and others were brought to court from Naini jail in separate police vans and produced in the court amid tight security.
Both of them were on Monday brought to the Naini Central Jail here after long road journeys from two separate prisons.
Umesh Pal’s wife Jaya Pal ealier said she won’t be going to the court but will “pray” that Ahmad gets capital punishment.
“I am not going to the court. I will be in my house and pray for capital punishment for Ahmad. If they get life imprisonment, they will continue to do the same things that they did with my husband,” Jaya Pal told reporters.
On a complaint from Umesh Pal’s wife, a case was lodged at the Dhoomanganj police station in Prayagraj against Ahmad, his brother, his wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others.
Ahmad, a former Samajwadi Party MP from Phulpur, was shifted to the Sabarmati Central Jail in Gujarat in June 2019 following a Supreme Court order after he was accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and assault of real estate businessman Mohit Jaiswal while in prison in Uttar Pradesh.
He is named in more than 100 criminal cases, including the Umesh Pal murder case, police said.