Lucknow, Dec 3 (IANS): Murders of lawyer Umesh Pal, gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf have been one of the most talked about and intensely debated crime cases of Uttar Pradesh this year.
However, despite multiple agencies probing the cases—Umesh Pal murder took place in Prayagraj in February while Atiq and Ashraf were shot dead in April in the same city—six main accused continue to remain out of reach of the police.
The six wanted persons include shooters Sabir, Guddu Muslim, Arman and three women Shaista Parveen, Jainab and Ayesha Noori – all booked for conspiracy.
While Guddu Muslim, Arman and Sabir are carrying Rs 5 lakh cash reward each on their heads, Shaista Parveen also carries Rs 50,000 bounty.
There is no cash reward on the heads of Jainab (wife of slain Ashraf) and Ayesha Noori (sister of Ashraf).
It may be recalled that on February 24, lawyer Umesh Pal, a prime witness in 2005 BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case, along with two of his police gunners, were killed outside his residence in Sulemsarai area under the Dhoomanganj police circle.
Although police claimed to have gunned down four of the key accused allegedly involved in the shootout, including Asad (son of Atiq Ahmed, Ghulam (shooter), Usman a.k.a Vijay (shooter) and Arbaaz in separate encounters, cops are yet to ascertain whereabouts of three key shooters, including Guddu Muslim, Sabir and Arman since the sensational shootout.
According to a senior official involved in investigation of the case, "The shooters remain untraceable mainly because they are no longer using a mobile phone which could have helped in tracking them down. We are maintaining electronic surveillance but they have not contacted their families either. We did get information of their presence in various cities, including Delhi, but they managed to escape before we could pin them down."
Two of the key accused -- Arbaaz and Vijay a.k.a. Usman were killed in separate encounters on February 27 and March 6 respectively.
Besides, a team of Special Task Force (STF) of UP police also gunned down Asad (son of Atiq Ahmed) and Ghulam – both carrying Rs 5 lakh cash reward on their heads, in an encounter in Jhansi on April 13.
On April 15, a group of three assailants killed gangster Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf in police custody inside the campus of Colvin hospital in Prayagraj.
Atiq's wife Shaista Parveen, who is said to have planned and aided the murder of Umesh Pal and helped the shooters escape, has remained beyond the reach of the police.
She has not visited the graveyard after the murder of husband Atiq and has not even contacted her two sons who are in jail and two minor sons who are now in the custody of a relative.
Jainab (wife of slain Ashraf) and Ayesha Noori (sister of Ashraf) are on the wanted list of the police and have remained untraceable.
Both are accused of conspiracy in the murder of Umesh Pal.
Even after nine months of the sensational Dhoomanganj shootout case, Prayagraj Commissionerate cops are yet to arrest six key accused, including slain gangster Atiq Ahmed's wife Shaista Parveen, despite announcing hefty cumulative cash reward of Rs 15.50 lakh.
The cops have failed to gather information about their current locations despite a series of raids and targetted operations. "We are continuing to track the links related to Atiq and Ashraf and we are confident that we will zero in on the absconders sooner than later. As time lapses, they will become lax about their strategies and that is when we will strike," said a STF official.