ONE OF the main suspects in the Kamlesh Tiwari murder case, Ashfaq Shaikh (33), had forged a colleague’s Aadhaar card to assume a new identity as Rohit Kumar Solanki for joining Tiwari’s Hindu Samaj Party. He joined the party on June 3 this year, and was appointed pracharak of its IT cell in Varachha ward of Surat.
Shaikh and another suspect, Farid Pathan alias Moinudddin, are suspected to have carried out the killing in Lucknow on October 18. Both are on the run. Rohit Kumar Solanki works as a medical representative in the pharmaceutical company in which Shaikh was team leader-cum-manager. In the forged Aadhaar card, Solanki’s photograph was replaced with Shaikh’s photograph, while the rest of the details were left untouched.
“I have been working with Ashfaq Shaikh for the last two-and-a-half years… On Sunday, I came to know, through social media, that my Aadhaar card had been misused by him… He would keep all the medical representatives’ documents with him. I have submitted a complaint to the Varachha police station,” Solanki told The Indian Express.
While the pharma company is headquartered in Mumbai, Shaikh was in charge of its sales in Surat. Shaikh also opened a Facebook account as Solanki, with his own photograph as the profile picture. He then became friends with Jaimin Dave alias Bapu, the Gujarat president of Hindu Samaj Party, on Facebook. He later met Dave in Ahmedabad and expressed interest in joining party. On June 3, Dave inducted him into the party, and appointed him pracharak of the IT cell in Varachha ward.
According to sources in the Hindu Samaj Party, Shaikh, as Solanki, met Tiwari in the last week of June. Before leaving Surat last week, he reportedly called up Tiwari and told him that he would meet him in Lucknow to discuss plans to expand the party in Surat. After reaching Lucknow on October 17, he reportedly called up Tiwari again, and confirmed that he would meet him the next day.
“We collect the Aadhaar card and photographs of those willing to join our party, for our records. On the basis of the Aadhaar card, we took permission from our national president, Guruji (Kamlesh Tiwari), and later appointed Rohit Kumar Solanki (Ashfaq Shaikh), as our organisation member. When, he sent me a friend request on Facebook, many Hindu Samaj Party workers were already on his friends’ list,” Dave posted on Facebook on Sunday.
“Keeping all these things in mind, we appointed him as a member. We carried out all legal procedures. We have now come to know that he had submitted a forged Aadhaar card… On Saturday, we submitted all the documents, including a copy of this forged Aadhaar card, to the Gujarat ATS,” he said.
Dave said Shaikh, as Solanki, was in touch with the organisation’s office-bearers across the country. “He would talk to them on the phone and send text messages, posing as Rohit Kumar Solanki,” he said on his Facebook post. Dave was not available for comment on Monday.
Tiwari, former working president of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, was killed at his Lucknow home on Friday. CCTV footage showed two youths entering his house around noon. A pistol and an empty cartridge were recovered from the spot.
Three persons, Maulana Mohsin Sheikh (24), Rashid Ahmed Pathan (22) and Faizan Shaikh (21), were arrested in Surat on Saturday. According to police, the trio, during questioning, disclosed that Rashid’s brother, Farid, and Shaikh, his neighbour, had carried out the killing.
Shaikh’s wife, Mehzabin, said he told her that he was going to Chandigarh for a job interview. “I told him I would accompany him, but he refused to take me… On Wednesday morning, he told me he would be going with his friend, Farid. They left on Wednesday night. I tried to contact him on Thursday, but his cellphone was switched off. On Friday night, Farid’s brother came to my house and told me that Ashfaq wanted to talk to me. I spoke to him briefly… I later tried to contact on the number from which he had called, but it was switched off,” she said.
Meanwhile, another person Syed Asim Ali (29) was arrested in Nagpur on Monday.
As the then working president of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, Tiwari had appealed on behalf of the organisation in the Ayodhya case before the Supreme Court. A controversial leader, Tiwari founded the Hindu Samaj Party about three years ago. He was jailed in 2015 over a remark he made about the Prophet that triggered protests and violence. The Lucknow police had invoked the NSA against him but it was set aside a year later by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.