Only Shaista can shed insight into Feb 24 killings of lawyer Umesh Pal, two of his police guards
Efforts have been intensified to arrest Shaista Parveen, wife of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad, and Saddam, brother-in-law of Ashraf by Uttar Pradesh Police and Special Task Force (STF). Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf were gunned down on April 15.
Named as an accused in the Umesh Pal murder case, Shaista has been on the run since the February 24 murder. She carries an Rs.50,000 reward on her head.
Police officials believe that with the murders of Atiq and his younger brother Ashraf, as well as the death of Atiq’s son Asad Ahmad in an encounter with the STF in Jhansi on April 13, Shaista remains the only one who could shed more light on the planning and execution of February 24 killings of lawyer Umesh Pal and his two police guards.
Police teams are carrying out raids in localities and villages of Prayagraj and neighboring Kaushambhi district, in all known possible hideouts, including the houses of their kin.
Shaista did not attend the funerals of her son Asad on April 15 and of her husband and brother-in-law held at Kasari Masari graveyard on April 16.
According to a senior police official: “During the past 48 hours, raids have been carried out by police teams in search of Shaista Parveen at Baretha, Mariyadeeh, and Hatwa areas of Kaushambhi district, along with Rajruppur, Chakia, Kasari Masari, and Bamrauli areas of Prayagraj. Even the house of Shaista’s father Mohd Haroon has been searched in the Kasari Masari area of Prayagraj.”
Several close relatives are also being questioned about her whereabouts, he added. Sources claim that Shaista was last seen in Prayagraj in a commercial car and the police are also reaching out to the owners of travel agencies to find out if they have any leads.
Police officials claim that Shaista played a vital part in the conspiracy to eliminate Umesh Pal and has managed Atiq’s financial affairs since he was jailed.
“Shaista procured the licenses for three weapons — including a sophisticated rifle and two pistols — in her name using a fake address with the help of Atiq’s connections without even having to go for the mandatory test firing required before being issued a weapon license,” said a police officer.
This has led to the first three cases being registered against her at Colonelganj police station in 2009 under different relevant sections of the IPC and Arms Act, the official added.
According to police, Shaista started actively managing her husband’s empire after Atiq went to jail in February 2017. She was even video-recorded walking along with Atiq’s known henchmen in the city.
She also started making inroads in political corridors soon after.
Police claim that at the behest of Atiq, she used to collect extortion money from builders and other traders.
She gave the money extorted through such sources to assailants involved in the murder of Umesh Pal and his two police guards.
While conducting raids to nab Shaista post February 24 murders, police even recovered Rs.72 lakh that she had allegedly given to her servant Rakesh to hide, said a police officer.
Apart from the three cases (dating back to 2009) lodged in connection with procuring weapons illegally, Shaista also has a fourth case registered against her on February 24 at Dhoomanganj police station under relevant sections of IPC which relates to gunning down of Umesh Pal and his two police guards in Sulem Sarai locality of Prayagraj.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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