Aligarh police on Wednesday said they arrested five persons who allegedly killed six persons in the district over the last one month in order to frame a witness in a 2016 murder case. Two Hindu priests, a couple and two farmers were found murdered in different areas of the district. These victims, police said, were chosen at random. The five arrested were identified as 50-year-old Sabir Ali, his son Nadeem, Salman, Irfan and Yaseen. Three others, namely Mustakeem, Naushad and Afsar, are absconding. While Sabir and his son are residents of Kidwai Nagar in Etah, the rest are believed to be from Aligarh.
“They were arrested on Tuesday and produced before a local court in Aligarh which sent them to jail,” said Harduaganj police station house officer (SHO) Vinod Kumar Singh. According to police, Sabir (50), a Dalit who had converted to Islam along with other family members several ago, confessed to having killed the six to frame four persons, including an eyewitness in a murder case against him and those pursuing the case in the court.
In 2016, a cleric by the name Shehzad was found shot dead in Etah. Sabir and Nadeem were out on bail in the case. Shehzad’s son Shoaib is an eyewitness. According to police, they tried to put pressure on Shoaib to change his statement. And when that they failed, said police, they recruited the others and executed the murders.
“They tried to mislead the police in the murders,” said Atrauli area Circle Officer (CO) Prashant Singh. “They would leave contact details of the person they were trying to frame at the scene of the crime and even made calls to them from their victim’s cellphones to give the impression that they knew each other.” Singh said that the murders of the priests were intended to provoke religious sentiments.
“None of the six victims were targeted with any motive. They simply wanted to frame the witnesses in Shehzad’s murder case and force them to change their statement,” he said.
The arrests, according to Assistant Superintendent of Police (Aligarh Rural) Mani Lal Patidar, were made with the help of “surveillance and intelligence”. “They believed it put pressure on the police and arrest Shoaib and the rest as soon as possible,” he said.