Gangster accused of assaulting trader in jail shifted

Atiq Ahmed allegedly assaulted a Lucknow-based businessman in Deoria jail after getting him abducted and forced him to sign away property worth Rs 40 crore.

Incarcerated mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed allegedly assaulted a Lucknow-based businessman in Deoria jail after getting him abducted and forced him to sign away property worth Rs 40 crore, following which the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday ordered that he be shifted to high-security Bareilly jail.

As the alleged incident left it red-faced, the state government also initiated disciplinary proceedings against Deoria jail superintendent Dilip Kumar Pandey and jailor Mukesh Kumar Katiyar, besides suspending several others.

An order issued by the prisons department said, "Approval has been given for shifting undertrial Atiq Ahmed, who is currently lodged in Deoria district jail, to Bareilly district jail on administrative grounds."

Deputy jailor Dev Nath Yadav, head warder Munna Pandey and warder Rakesh Kumar Sharma have been suspended and disciplinary proceedings have been started against them, a home department release said.

"The government has sought a report from ADG Prison, so as to fix responsibility regarding the lapse in Deoria jail. Action will be taken accordingly. An FIR has been filed at Krishnanagar police station and of the four named accused, two have been arrested," UP Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar had said in a late night statement Sunday.

In his police complaint, the real estate businessman, Mohit Jaiswal, alleged that Ahmed, a former Samajwadi Party MP, his son Umar and about 15 others forcibly took away his SUV in which he was driven to Deoria from the state capital.

Jaiswal alleged that he was assaulted by Ahmed and his supporters and forced to sign papers to hand over his property worth Rs 40 crore before he was let off.

Police booked Ahmed, his son Umar, and accomplices Farooque, Zaki Ahmed, Jafar Ullah, Ghulam Sarvar and 10 to 12 unidentified people on various charges, including an attempt to murder, after Jaiswal filed the complaint at the Krishna Nagar police station in Lucknow.

Circle Officer, Krishna Nagar, Lal Pratap Singh said according to Jaiswal, Ahmed's henchmen took him to the Deoria jail on December 26 in Jaiswal's own SUV and assaulted him inside the barrack where the gangster is lodged.

The jailor said, "Jaiswal had come to meet Atiq Ahmed on December 26. The meeting took place as per the jail rules. I have no information on whether he was abducted and forced to come here or assaulted. He didn't tell anyone about it while leaving."

When contacted, District Magistrate of Deoria Amit Kishore said, "Police searched all the barracks. It seems that the CCTV recording has been tampered with... Some parts of the footage are missing. We have taken cognizance of it."

He said the DIG (prisons), Gorakhpur, will conduct a probe.

Also, a committee under ADM (administration) will go into each and every aspect and submit its report by Tuesday, he said.

Ahmed, a history-sheeter with at least 70 cases against him, including the killing of BSP MLA Raju Pal in 2005 in Allahabad, is lodged in Deoria district jail since March last year after being transferred from Allahabad's Naini jail.

He has been incarcerated since February 2017 after being booked for allegedly assaulting faculty members of an agriculture institute in Allahabad in 2016.

A former SP MP and five-time MLA from Allahabad West, Ahmed unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha by-poll from Phulpur as an Independent this year.

In 2004, Ahmed was elected to the Lok Sabha as an SP candidate. He contested the 2009 general elections from Pratapgarh as an Apna Dal candidate, where he lost. He also fought the 2012 Assembly election from Allahabad West under the Apna Dal but lost again.

It may be recalled that gangster Munna Bajrangi was shot dead by another inmate, considered to be one of his rivals, on Baghpat jail premises in July this year. Bajrangi was lodged in Banda jail and was shifted to Baghpat in connection with his appearance in a case in the district court.

After Bajrangi's killing, the state government had set up a high-powered three-member committee under the chairmanship of former DGP Sulkhan Singh to give a report to upgrade the security of all jails across the state.

The committee had the mandate to suggest measure to be taken to curb smuggling of firearms and sharp-edged arms.

Gangsters such as Mukhtar Ansari, Brajesh Singh, Sundar Bhati, Anil Dujana, Amit Kasna, Babloo Srivastava and Khan Mubarak have been reportedly running their crime syndicates from inside jails.

A video has emerged purportedly showing inmates of a Raebareli jail having drinks inside the barrack. The video went viral on social media Monday, prompting the Uttar Pradesh government to suspend six officials, including a senior jail superintendent.

Uttar Pradesh jails have been plagued with issues like overcrowding, porous security and the paucity of staff. Even the CCTV camera installed on various premises, metal detectors and other such security checks are usually found non-functional.

Jail authorities in Uttar Pradesh have often come under fire for being allegedly hand in glove with inmates while letting them continue their illegal activities and extortion networks from inside the jails.

After the BJP came to power in the state in March last year, over 100 criminals were shifted from one jail to another to neutralise their crime machinery.

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