The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday announced a reward of Rs 2.50 lakh on each of the two suspected killers of Kamlesh Tiwari, the former president of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha who was murdered at his Lucknow home on October 18.
Police have identified the two suspected killers as Sheikh Ashfaq Hussain (26) and Pathan Moinudddin Ahmed (27) — both residents of Surat in Gujarat — according to the records of the hotel in Lalbagh area of Lucknow in which they checked in on October 17, and after killing Tiwari, left without informing the hotel staff.
Sources in the police said that the teams of the Special Task Force (STF), constituted to probe the murder, have been “trailing the duo with the help of the clues that the suspects have left”.
A senior police officer involved in the probe said that the investigation has so far found that the suspected killers after leaving the Lucknow hotel took a UP Roadways bus from Kaiserbagh area to reach Lakhimpur Kheri district, 130 km from the state Capital. “From there, they hired a taxi for Shahjahanpur district. The CCTV footage showed them walking towards the railway station. Their next location has been found at a hospital in Bareilly where one of them got the dressing done in his injured hand,” the officer said, adding that the last location of the two has been again traced to Shahjahanpur.
According to police, one of the assailants had suffered injury in one of his hand probably during the attack on Tiwari. This was verified with the statement of a hotel staff who said that one of the visitors was hiding his right hand when they last left the hotel, said an officer on the condition of anonymity.
On Sunday, police had said that a bloodstained knife allegedly used to kill Tiwari has been recovered from a hotel room where the two suspected assailants stayed. Bloodstained kurtas worn by the two were also recovered from the hotel room, police had said. Police had said that the two men seen in the hotel CCTV footage were the same as the ones in the footage from near Tiwari’s residence.
Police have questioned the driver of the taxi which the two suspects had hired to travel to Shahjahanpur. A shopkeeper in Kanpur where the suspects had allegedly purchased a SIM card has been also questioned, police said. “The SIM was used to call Tiwari before reaching his house on October 18. The CCTV footage at the shop showed the two killers buying the SIM,” a police officer said.
Police have also detained two persons from Pilibhit for questioning for their conversation with the two suspects.
Meanwhile, three alleged conspirators — Rashid Pathan, Faizan Shaikh, and Maulana Mohsin Shaikh — who were arrested from Surat were brought to Lucknow on a transit remand of three days. They were arrested in Surat by the Gujarat ATS following a tip-off by the UP Police. The trio would be produced before a local court of Lucknow. Police would be seeking custody of the three to interrogate them in detail, a senior officer said.
According to Surat police, the three men, all of whom are in their early 20s, have confessed to the Surat Crime Branch and the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad about their involvement in the conspiracy to kill Tiwari.
Police sources in Surat claimed that Rashid provided the funds, and Faizan bought sweets from Dharti Namkeen sweet shop on Road No. 3 in Udhna. Mohsin Shaikh was allegedly the ideologue who brainwashed the members of the group. It was a box of a local sweet called ghari that the alleged killers left behid in Tiwari’s home, which led investigators to the three arrested men.
Sources in Surat police said members of the group often met for tea at n’ght in Surat’s Zampabazaar area, around 6 km from Limbayat, where Faizan was picked up. Through Faizan, police reached Rashid Pathan and his brother Saeed Pathan, and ultimately Mohsin Shaikh. According to Surat police sources, the members of the group discussed revenge for some disparaging comments about the Prophet that Tiwari made in 2015.