Atiq Ahmad: The epitome of criminalisation of politics

Atiq Ahmad
Atiq AhmadFile Photo

Atiq Ahmad, born to a poor tonga man named Firoz Ahmad, rose to notoriety as a gangster with over 100 criminal cases including murder and extortion. Despite facing these charges, he managed to get acquitted in twelve cases. Ahmad's reign of terror began at the age of 17 with a cold-blooded murder, after which he established himself as the kingpin of the coal theft business. He soon leveraged his fear-inducing tactics to secure lucrative railway contracts, amassing properties worth hundreds of crores.

Ahmad's political career exemplified the criminalization of Indian politics. In 1989, his biggest rival was killed in an encounter, paving the way for him to tighten his grip on the world of crime. He won the Allahabad West assembly seat five times, including thrice as an independent and once on an Apna Dal ticket. In 2004, he won the Phoolpur parliamentary seat on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket, but his brother Ashraf, contesting on a SP ticket, lost the seat to Raju Pal of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the ensuing by-election.

In 2005, Pal, along with his aides Devi Pal and Sandeep Yadav, was brutally murdered, allegedly by Ahmad. The ensuing by-election was won by Ashraf. However, the seat was wrested from the SP in 2007 by Pooja Pal, Raju Pal's widow, who contested on a BSP ticket. In 2009, the investigation of the case was handed over to the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), who framed charges against five accused including Guddu Muslim, Gul Hasan, Dinesh Pasi, and Nafis Kalia. In 2016, the Pal family approached the Supreme Court, seeking a CBI investigation. The apex court accepted their plea and ordered a CBI investigation which filed an FIR against all accused including Ashraf in 2019. In 2022, charges were framed against six accused.

In 2023, the murder of a key witness in the case, Umesh Pal, outside his home, was the final nail in Ahmad's coffin, leading to his tragic downfall. Ahmad's reign of terror exemplifies the criminal empire he created, built on fear and extortion, which dominated Uttar Pradesh's political landscape.

Atiq Ahmad
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