Former MP Ateeq kidnapped businessman: UP govt tells SC
New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government Thursday told the Supreme Court that former MP Ateeq Ahmad, who was lodged in Deoria jail, had indeed assaulted and kidnapped a businessman on December 26 last year.
Confirming the incident, the UP government said CCTV cameras in the jail complex were tampered with at the time.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said it would consider the report submitted by UP government on April 23.
In a report submitted through senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appointed as amicus curiae (friend of court), the state government said departmental action against five jail officials has been initiated.
Hansaria, assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, told the bench that jail norms were relaxed with respect to visitors meeting the former parliamentarian.
In his submission, the senior advocate said there are 109 cases registered against Ahmad from 1979 to 2019 which include 17 murder cases, 12 cases under UP Gangster Act, eight under Arms Act and four under UP Goonda Act.
Hansaria said eight cases pending investigation were registered against Ahmad between 2015 and 2019 of which two are murder cases.
The report said the state government has constituted two committees which prima facie found names of two persons, including businessman Mohit Jaiswal's, in visitors register for meeting Ahmad.
It said the committees have found the jail superintendent and other jail officials guilty for the assault on the businessman, and departmental proceedings against five officials and the state government has suspended three persons.
The report further said that after the incident was reported in media and FIR was lodged by the businessman, Ahmad was transferred from Deoria jail to Bareilly jail in UP and efforts were being made to arrest the associates of the former lawmaker, who were involved in the incident.
Ateeq Ahmad was a five-time MLA and one-time MP and has been jail since Feb 11, 2017.
In the past he was associated with political parties including Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal (Sonewal faction).
"In interrogation, the jail staff and the prisoners have denied the incidence of assault in jail but the joint team found in the inquiry that some CCTV cameras set up in the jail have been tampered with and a persons meeting with Ateeq Ahmad had been granted relaxation also against rule. The joint team prima facie found that the jail superintendent and the officers/ employees of the jail administration to be guilty for this incident," the report said.
The UP government report said some accused have been identified on the basis of CCTV footage of Deoria jail and for their arrest, police teams have been sent to their possible hideouts in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Prayagraj and Delhi.
It said a police team led by Lucknow SP has been leading the investigation in the case.
The top court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a life ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases besides the setting up of special courts to expeditiously try cases involving elected representatives.
During the previous hearing, the court was told by Hansaria that there were over several heinous cases pending against the former MP and still he had the audacity to kidnap the businessman to the jail.
Businessman Jaiswal had filed an FIR on December 28, 2018, alleging that he was kidnapped from Lucknow and taken to the prison where he was assaulted by the jailed don and his aides and was forced to transfer his business to them.
Lucknow-based realtor Jaiswal had alleged that he was tortured and forced to transfer five of his firms in the names of the former lawmaker and his jailed son. The combined assets of the firms were worth Rs 45 crore, the FIR said, adding that Ahmad also took away the car of Jaiswal and other belongings before releasing him.