The Prayagraj Police on Friday, 26 May, filed the first chargesheet in the murder of Umesh Pal, the main witness to the 2005 murder of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Raju Pal. Umesh, along with two police security guards were shot dead outside his home on 24 February this year.
In the present chargesheet, filed in the SC-ST court, charges have been filed against only one accused, Sadaqat Khan, leaving out the names of eight other accused.
The 1,857-Page Chargesheet
The chargesheet has been filed under nine sections of the Indian Penal Code including Sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (Unlawful assembly guilty of offence), 302 (Punishment for murder), 307 (Attempt to murder), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 34 (Common intention to commit crime), 120B (Punishment for criminal conspiracy) along with sections of Explosives Act, 1884, Criminal Law Amendment (CLA) Act, 1952, and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The present chargesheet runs into a total of 1,857 pages with enclosures. It is based on the FIR registered on 25 February at Dhumanganj police station in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
According to the rules, the chargesheet against the arrested accused should be filed within the stipulated time of 90 days. Although, the 90-day period has elapsed, an extension of two days was sought from the court to file the chargesheet.
FIR in Umesh Pal's Murder
Umesh Pal was shot dead on 24 February at his residence in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj by some unknown assailants. As per the CCTV footage, Pal and his bodyguards were attacked after they got out of the SUV when suddenly a man came from behind and shot him.
A day later, on 25 February, Dhumanganj police station registered an FIR against deceased former MP Atiq Ahmed, his wife Sahista Parveen, their two sons, his younger brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf, and others based on Umesh Pal's wife Jaya Pal’s complaint.
In her complaint, Jaya Pal had alleged that the attack on her husband Umesh Pal was planned by Atiq Ahmed, his wife Shaista Parveen, as well as Atiq’s sons and aides.
Timeline of Arrests in the Case
The first arrest in the case was that of Sadaqat Khan on 27 February.
After this, on 21 March, Atiq's servant Rakesh alias Lala, driver Akhtar Katra, Mo. Sajid and Niyaz Ahmed were arrested and sent to Naini Central Prison in Prayagraj.
On 1 April the Special Task Force (STF) arrested Atiq’s domestic help Sharup alias Shahrukh.
On 4 April, Atiq’s brother-in-law Dr Akhlaq was arrested and sent to prison.
Atiq's lawyer Khan Soulat Hanif was remanded in the murder case on 27 April.
A chargesheet may also be filed against the eight other accused soon.
9 Accused of Murder; 6 Killed, 3 Absconding
Since the murder of Umesh Pal, six of the nine people accused in the case have been killed:
On 27 February, Arbaz was reportedly killed in an encounter. He was reportedly the driver of the vehicle that ferried the shooters who killed Umesh Pal.
On 6 March, Usman Choudhary was reportedly killed in an encounter with Prayagraj Police.
On 13 April, Atiq's son Asad and his aide Ghulam were killed in an encounter in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.
On 15 April, Atiq and his brother Ashraf were shot dead live on television after men posing as journalists fired more than 20 bullets at the two handcuffed men who were in police custody.
Three other accused, Guddu Muslim, Armaan and Sabir each carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh, are on the run.
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