Three days after a key witness in the 2005 murder of then BSP MLA Raju Pal was shot dead along with his gunner in broad daylight in a market in Prayagraj, UP Police on Monday said they have gunned down the person who allegedly helped escape the shooters from the spot.
Police also arrested a 27-year-old Ghazipur native, Sadakat Khan, for his alleged involvement in the murder conspiracy.
The man killed in the encounter has been identified as 25-year-old Arbaaz, a resident of Salapur in Prayagraj. Police said they had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on Arbaaz after Friday’s shooting.
According to police, they had received intelligence input on Arbaaz’s whereabouts around Nehru Park area of Dhoomanganj in Prayagraj. “On seeing the police team, Arbaaz opened fire and tried to escape. He opened fire. Police also chased him and fired at him in retaliation. In the crossfire, Arbaaz got injured. He was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead. During the encounter, Dhoomanganj Station House Officer Rajesh Kumar Maurya also received injuries on his arms and was taken to hospital for treatment,” a senior police officer said, adding that the SHO did not receive any bullet or pellet injury.
Police claimed to have recovered .32 bore pistol, cartridges and a blank motorcycle numberplate from his possession.
“We trying to collect the criminal background and history of Arbaaz,” the officer added.
दि0 24/2/23 को गवाह उमेश पाल की नृशंस हत्या का आरोपी अरबाज़ @prayagraj_pol से प्रयागराज में हुई मुठभेड़ में घायल होने के उपरांत अस्पताल में मृत घोषित हुआ है।#UPPolice माफियाओं एवं अपराधियों के प्रति ज़ीरो टॉलरेंस की नीति के तहत सख़्त कार्यवाही करेगी।
Prashant Kr. ADG LO UP
— UP POLICE (@Uppolice) February 27, 2023
Meanwhile, police said that Sadakat Khan told them that the planning of Umesh Pal’s murder took place in his hostel room.
“He has given us the names of some persons involved in the crime and also provided information about WhatsApp calls and messages, which are related to the case. He has given some vital information that cannot be shared,” Police Commissioner (Prayagraj) Ramit Sharma told The Indian Express.
According to him, Khan tried to escape while being brought from his hostel room and hit a road divider. “He has suffered injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment,” the Commissioner added.
A police officer said that Khan could be a lawyer.
Police have also declared rewards on five other accused named in the FIR and those whose roles have come up during the investigation.
On Friday, Umesh Pal – who was a prime witness in the 2005 murder case of then BSP MLA Raju Pal – and his gunner were killed and another gunner was injured when assailants attacked them in the Dhoomanganj area of Prayagraj. Assailants opened fire and hurled bomb at them.
Based on a complaint filed by Umesh Pal’s wife, former MP Atiq Ahmed, his wife Shaista Parveen, their son, his younger brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf and two others have been named in the FIR. While Atiq Ahmed is lodged in a jail in Gujarat, Ashraf is in Bareilly Central Jail.
Police are also looking into the role of one of Atiq’s sons, who is reportedly pursuing law in a Lucknow institute and has gone missing since Friday.