In a case of mistaken identity, a 22-year-old youth was shot at near Phoolpur in Azamgarh allegedly by a police team from neighbouring Sultanpur district on Wednesday.
The condition of victim Taufiq Ahmed, who was rushed to Banaras Hindu University hospital in Varanasi, is reported to be stable and out of danger. While no arrest has been made so far, a sub-inspector and three constables were booked for attempt to murder.
The incident was noticed in the afternoon when Phoolpur police station received information about a man being shot at and some persons forcefully taking him in a car.
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However, when Phoolpur police intercepted the car, they came to know that the occupants were members of Sultanpur’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and they were looking for a “wanted criminal”, Sagar Yadav, carrying a reward on Rs 50,000, but mistook Taufiq Ahmed for him. Soon after the Sultanpur policemen realised their mistake, they rushed Taufiq to hospital.
In-charge of the SOG team Sub-inspector Abhishek Singh and three constables were detained and questioned.
Azamgarh Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari said: “A case of attempt to murder has been registered on the complaint of the youth’s father, and further investigation is on. The accused policemen are being questioned to ascertain the sequence of events and the circumstances under which Taufiq was shot at.”
Taufiq Ahmed, son of Abu Lais Ahmed, is a resident of Mohammadpur Bheti under Bardah police station area.
According to preliminary inquiry, Taufiq was riding a bike to meet a relative, around 50 km from his home. On being questioned, the detained policemen said they had received a tip-off that alleged criminal, Sagar Yadav, was near an eatery in Phoolpur area.
“When they spotted a bike with the same make and similar registration number, the team thought that they were on trail of the right person. The man on the bike was, however, wearing a helmet. When the policemen tried to stop him, the motorcyclist sped off, following which he was shot at,” said a police officer associated with the case.
While the detailed medical report from BHU hospital is awaited, it is suspected that Taufiq was shot near diaphram.
“From the initial information, it appears that he was shot from the front,” said the officer, not ruling out the possibility that the team intercepted the youth and then shot at him.
Sultanpur Superintendent of Police Sonia Singh said: “The SOG team had undertaken an operation after two murders in quick succession in our district. One of them had occurred on September 4 and the other on September 9. The name of Sagar Yadav had cropped up during investigations in these two cases. So, our team was definitely in pursuit, but now, it is clear that a mistake has occurred. We are awaiting the formal report from Azamgarh police.
There is no doubt that departmental action will be initiated (against the SOG team members).”
Police said while Taufiq’s family is indulged in small jobs and agriculture, he was planning to go abroad to work in a medical firm. A large number of people from Azamgarh go to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries for job.