Atiq, who is an accused in an old kidnapping case, is being taken to Prayagraj from Sabarmati Central Jail in Gujarat to be produced before a court on March 28 when it passes an order.
The former Samajwadi Party MP was initially reluctant to leave the jail with UP police. However, when he eventually stepped out of the jail, he told reporters that he may be murdered.
Atiq Ahmed’s prison transfer: High-security barrack in Prayagraj prison to become his new home
“Hatya, hatya (murder, murder),” Ahmed told reporters outside the jail.
“Mujhe inka programme maloom hai … Hatya karna chahte hain (I know their programme … They want to murder me),” he said as he left the jail premises amid tight security around 6 pm after completing the necessary formalities.
Atiq has been lodged in Gujarat jail since June 2019 as per the Supreme Court’s order. The Supreme Court had directed that the former MP from Phulpur in UP be shifted to a high-security jail in Gujarat after he was accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and assault of a real estate businessman Mohit Jaiswal while in jail.
The former Samajwadi Party MP, who once wielded considerable clout in state politics, now fears that he may meet the same fate as Kanpur gangster Vikas Dubey.
Dubey was gunned down in July 2020 by the Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh police shortly after a police SUV in which he was being brought to Kanpur from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh overturned under mysterious circumstances on a highway. Police claimed that he had tried to flee.
It happened just a week after eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, were ambushed in Bikru village in Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets shortly after midnight on July 3.
Earlier this month, Ahmed had moved the Supreme Court for protection, claiming that he and his family were falsely implicated in the Umesh Pal murder case in Prayagraj and he may be killed in a fake encounter by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
In his plea, Ahmed said the Uttar Pradesh police were in all likelihood seeking his transit remand and police remand to take him from Ahmedabad to Prayagraj and he “genuinely apprehends that he may be eliminated during this transit period”.
Among the most sensational murders in which Atiq Ahmed is allegedly involved is that of Raju Pal, the MLA from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) who was shot dead in 2005. Umesh Pal, a key witness in this murder case, was gunned down outside his residence in Prayagraj on February 24 this year.
‘Won’t be surprised if Atiq’s vehicle overturns’
At least two BJP leaders have openly spoken on Atiq’s encounter leading to a political slugfest between the ruling party and the opposition Samajwadi Party.
BJP Lok Sabha MP Subrat Pathak on Wednesday said he would not be surprised if mafia Atiq Ahmed’s vehicle overturns like that of gangster Vikas Dubey.
Pathak, who is MP from Kannauj, tweeted, “The killing of Umesh Pal and police security personnel under the protection of the Uttar Pradesh Police is a direct attack on the government of Uttar Pradesh.”
“Remember, if Vikas Dubey could not survive there is no need to tell what will happen to these criminals, and now if the vehicle of Atiq also overturns, I will not be surprised,” he wrote in Hindi.
Another BJP leader, former MP Harinarayan Rajbhar, recently said that gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed should be brought out of jail and killed in an encounter, adding that the gates of heaven will open for the policeman who does so.
‘CM would have told him …’
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, when asked about a statement made by UP minister JPS Rathore “to be prepared” as Atiq Ahmed is being shifted from Gujarat’s Sabarmati Jail to UP’s Prayagraj Jail said, “The CM (Yogi Adityanath) must have told him (UP Minister JPS Rathore) earlier where and how the car would be overturned. If you take help from Google and America, they will show how and when the car was overturned.”
UP Minister JPS Rathore had earlier said, as far as a ‘car getting overturned’ is concerned I just said that a criminal after being arrested by police should seat calmly in the car so that he reaches jail safely.
“If he thinks to run away from the car then there might be disbalance and car might overturn,” Rathore stated.
Meanwhile, in Prayagraj, arrangements have been made to keep Atiq in jail.
DG (prisons) Anand Kumar said the jailed politician will be kept in a high-security barrack with a round-the-clock CCTV camera for surveillance.
“Mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed will be kept in isolation in a high-security barrack at the jail. His cell will have a CCTV camera. Jail staff will be chosen & deployed on the basis of their records, they will have body-worn cameras,” Kumar said.
“Prayagraj Jail office and Jail HQ will monitor round the clock through a video wall. DIG Jail HQ is being sent to ensure all the arrangements at Prayagraj Jail,” he added.