The man who fired the first shot at Umesh Pal, the key witness in the 2005 former BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case, was gunned down by a Prayagraj police team in an encounter in Prayaraj in the early hours of Monday (March 6), officials said.
Umesh Pal and his police security guards Sandeep Nishad and Raghvendra Singh were shot on February 24 outside his home in the Dhoomanganj area. While Pal died on the same day, both the security personnel died later during treatment.
Vijay Chaudhary alias Usman, an accused in the Umesh Pal murder case, was shot dead in the Kaundhiyara police station area around 5.30 am, Dhumanganj station house officer (SHO) Rajesh Kumar Maurya said on Monday. Police said Usman was the one who fired the first shot at Umesh Pal.
A police officer said the encounter site was between Gothi and Belwa in Kaundhiyara police station area. Usman suffered bullet injuries in his neck, chest and thigh, he said.
He said Usman’s brother Rakesh Chaudhary is lodged in Naini Central Jail and a dozen of cases including that of murder have been registered against him. A constable, Narendra Pal, was also injured in the Monday’s encounter. He suffered injuries to his hand and has been admitted to the Community Health Centre in Kaundhiyara.
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On February 27, Arbaz, who allegedly drove the SUV of the assailants, was killed in an encounter with the police in Prayagraj. Based on a complaint lodged by Umesh Pal’s wife Jaya Pal, a case was registered at Dhoomanganj police station against gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, his brother Ashraf, wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam and nine others.
They have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of the Explosive Substances Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Jaya Pal had claimed that her husband was the prime witness in the Raju Pal murder case.
In 2006, Atiq Ahmed and his aides abducted him and forced him to give a statement in court in their favour. Umesh Pal had registered a complaint in this regard and the case was ongoing. Atiq Ahmed is the prime accused in the Raju Pal murder case and is currently lodged in a Gujarat jail.
The Uttar Pradesh police had on Sunday announced a reward of Rs 2.5 lakh for giving information about the five people, including gangster and former MP Atiq Ahmad’s son Asad, allegedly involved in the killing of Umesh Pal. Besides Asad, the other four accused on which reward was announced included Gulam, Guddu and Sabir.