An audio clip has surfaced in Gujarat, in which the wife and father of Ashfaq Shaikh, one of the two men accused of murdering Kamlesh Tiwari, are purportedly pleading with him to return home, saying they have met the “ATS”, and that all “procedures” have been completed.
The 1.55-minute clip of the purported conversation appears to have been from the time Ashfaq was in Shahjahanpur after Tiwari’s murder in Lucknow on October 18. Ashfaq and the other accused, Moinuddin Pathan alias Farid, were traced to Shahjahanpur on the night of October 21. They were arrested the following day at Shamlaji on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Police said they were aware that such a clip had gone “viral”. Ashfaq’s father Zakir Hussain Shaikh, whose voice is purportedly on the clip, said that he and his daughter-in-law Mehzabin had spoken with his son when he was on the run.
Tiwari, a former working president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and chief of the Hindu Samaj Party, was allegedly killed by Ashfaq and Farid as revenge for something he had said about the Prophet some years ago.
In the clip, Zakir purportedly tells Ashfaq, “Beta kuchh bhi kar ke yahaan aa jaa, tera achchha hoga. Ya to hum ko bol, hum wahaan aa kar leke jayenge. (Son, come home somehow, it will be good for you. Else tell us, and we will come and fetch you.)”
The voice purported to be Ashfaq’s replies: “Hum log abhi jaa rahe hain, Shahjahanpur ruke hue hain, wahaan se hum log Lucknow kal chale jayenge. (We are going now, we have stopped at Shahjahanpur, we will go to Lucknow tomorrow.)”
Zakir: “Na beta wahaan mat jao, yeh side yahaan aa jao, woh logo ne naa bola hai humko, samajh koi baat ko. Hum jaa kar aaye wahan pe. (No son, don’t go there, come here. They have told us, so please understand. We have visited them.)”
Ashfaq: “Kiske wahaan? (Visited whom?)”
Zakir: “ATS jaa ke aaye, sab wahaan procedure ho gayi hai, yeh bola ke yahaan bula lo. (We visited the ATS, all procedures have been finished, they told us to call you here.)”
Ashfaq: “Kahan pe? (Where ?)”
Zakir: “ATS… SG highway [Ahmedabad] pe ATS pe jaa ke aa gaye, beta tu kuchh bhi kar ke yahaan aa ja. Haan beta aur kuch nahi. (ATS… on SG highway [in Ahmedabad]. Somehow come here. Nothing else.)”
A voice purported to be that of Mehzabin, Ashfaq’s wife, then takes the phone, and Ashfaq tells her he would call her later. “Ye doosre ka phone hai. (This is someone else’s phone.)” She too pleads with him to come “here” (to Gujarat).
Zakir Hussain Shaikh told The Sunday Express: “Yes, we had a conversation with Ashfaq. We were worried about him. He called on Mehzabin’s number and we spoke with him and told him to come to Gujarat.”
Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad Deputy Superintendent of Police K K Patel said: “We know that such an audio clip of a conversation between Ashfaq with his wife and father has gone viral. We don’t know who has done it, though.”
The first arrests in the case were made on October 19, when Rashid Pathan, Faizan Shaikh and a cleric, Mohsin Shaikh, all residents of Surat, were picked up. The Gujarat ATS has handed over all five men to the UP Police.
Meanwhile, Kiran Tiwari, wife of the murdered Kamlesh Tiwari, said on Saturday that the two arrested men were the ones who had visited her husband at their home. Kiran was present in the house in Lucknow when the murder took place. She demanded that the investigation be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) so that the deeper conspiracy behind Kamlesh’s murder could be unearthed.
Kiran also held the UP government and Lucknow Police responsible for her husband’s murder, alleging that he was not provided with adequate security despite repeated requests. She said the Rs 15 lakh given to the family by the state government as compensation was inadequate, and that the family would return the cheque. Her son Satyam has demanded Rs 5 crore from the government.
“We had gone to meet the chief minister disregarding religious customs that did not allow us to move out of home during the 13-day period of mourning. But the government has not fulfilled our demands, which include renaming Khurshed Bagh after Kamlesh Tiwari, “ Kiran said.
“The government wants to shut my mouth by giving monetary help but I will raise my voice regularly. Giving just Rs 15 lakh is like insulting Kamlesh Tiwari,” she said.
(With ENS, Lucknow)