A key witness in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case was allegedly attacked on Friday evening in Allahabad.
Rukhsana Begum, 55, alleged that six people, including a village head, had fired at her house in Kareli police station area. No one was injured in the incident.
Rukhsana’s husband Mohammad Sadiq, a businessman, told The Sunday Express, “On Friday evening, Rukhsana and our son Mohammad Sajid (26) were sitting outside the house in Karelbagh locality, when six persons on three motorcycles came there and opened fire. Sajid too returned fire using a licenced weapon following which the assailants fled.”
The family believes this was in retaliation to Rukhsana recording her statement before the CBI that is investigating the Pal murder case in which former MP Ateeq Ahmed and his brother Mohammad Ashraf are named accused. Raju Pal was killed in Dhoomanganj area in Allahabad on January 25, 2005. Rukhsana, who was travelling in the car with Pal and five of his supporters, too had been injured in the attack. While Ateeq was arrested and lodged in Deoria jail in another assault case, Ashraf is absconding.
“Rukhsana could identify all six as they belong to the locality. After the attack, we immediately informed the police and got an FIR registered against them on charge of attempt to murder. They all are aides of Ateeq Ahmed,” said Sadiq.
The accused include Bakshi Moda village pradhan Mubaraq, Maqsood, Sharafat, Riyasat, Maqbool and Irshad.
Kareli police station officer Vijay Kumar Singh said a police team had rushed to the spot after they received information about the firing. “We did not find any empty cartridge there, but there were four bullet marks on house ‘s walls. Raids are on to arrest the accused,” said SO Singh.
“The accused in the case have criminal cases against them. Security has been provided to Rukhsana following the threat to her life,” said SSP (Allahabad) Sureshrao A Kulkarni.
“The CBI had recorded statement of my wife. Many have been threatening her not to give statement against Ateeq in court. About a month ago, some goons had thrashed Rukhsana’s younger brother Noor Akhtar and had told him to convince Rukhsana to not give statement against Ateeq in the court. We had filed a complaint with the police then as well,” Sadiq said.
When contacted, Raju Pal’s wife Pooja Pal, who is also a former BSP MLA, said, “Rukhsana had suffered two gunshot injuries on her shoulder in the firing which killed my husband. I had visited Rukhsana after hearing about the firing at her house yesterday evening.”
Eleven people were named accused in the Pal murder case. UP Crime Branch-CID had earlier investigated the case and had filed a chargesheet against 17 accused including Ateeq and Ashraf, said Pooja. The CBI investigation was ordered after she approached the Supreme Court in 2014.
It is alleged that prime motive of Raju Pal murder was said to be the 2004 assembly bypoll in which he had defeated Ashraf from Allahabad West seat. The seat had then become vacant after Ateeq had won Lok Sabha election from Allahabad in 2004.
Ashraf is wanted in another murder case related and police had attached his property after obtaining permission from the court last month. “He also carries a reward of Rs 12,000 on his head and letter has been sent for increasing the amount,” said SSP Kulkarni.