During the hearing, the Bench also questioned why the Ahmed brothers were “paraded” by the police in public before the news media while being taken for a medical examination to a hospital, right before they were shot to death by assailants posing as journalists.
ON Friday, a division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices S. Ravinder Bhat and Dipankar Datta called for a comprehensive affidavit from the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government on the steps taken by it to inquire into the controversial killings of gangster-cum-politicians Atique and Ashraf Ahmed, which took police outside a hospital in Prayagraj on April 15.
Atiq, a former member of Parliament and member of legislative assembly (MLA) from UP, had more than 160 criminal cases pending against him, and had been convicted in a kidnapping case. Ashraf, his brother, was also a former MLA from UP, and had more than 50 criminal cases pending against him.
The Bench also directed that the affidavit should disclose information regarding the government’s inquiry into the encounter killings of the other accused in the murder case of lawyer Umesh Pal.
On April 13, Atique’s son, Asad and Ghulam, Atique’s aide, were killed in an ‘encounter’ by a special task force of the UP Police.
Atique, Ashraf, Asad and Ghulam were all accused persons in the murder of politician Raju Pal in 2005 and Umesh Pal in February this year.
In addition, the Bench also sought to know from the state government about the action taken by it on the recommendations made by Justice B.S. Chauhan-led Inquiry Commission, which had been appointed by the Supreme Court to probe the encounter killing of criminal, history-sheeter and a gangster-turned-politician Vikas Dubey in 2020. The commission had made recommendations ranging from basic improvement to be made in police manpower and infrastructure, particularly in transport, communications and weaponry, and enhancing the number of forensic laboratories.
During the hearing, the Bench also questioned why the Ahmed brothers were “paraded” by the police in public before the news media while being taken for a medical examination to a hospital, right before they were shot to death at point-blank range in full view of TV news media cameras by assailants posing as journalists.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Vishal Tiwari seeking an independent inquiry into the killings of the Ahmed brothers.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, for the UP government, told the Bench that an inquiry commission with two former high court Chief Justices and another judge had been constituted by the State (It must be noted that on April 16, UP Chief Minister Adityanath had announced the formation of a judicial commission headed by retired Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi, and comprising retired district court judge Brijesh Kumar Soni and former Director General of Police Subesh Kumar Singh to probe the Ahmed brothers’ murder.). Besides, Rohtagi submitted, a Special Investigation Team had also been formed to probe the murders.