The countdown to the end arguably started for gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed some 50 days before his shocking and sensational murder in police presence. The chain of events that led to his death arguably started some 18 years ago in 2005 with the murder of then BSP MLA Raju Pal. However, walls closed in on Atiq and his criminal empire came crumbling down within two months of the daylight killing of Raju Pal murder case witness Umesh Pal on February 24 this year.
Collapse of Atiq Ahmed's family
Once the most powerful person in his city, Atiq Ahmed’s entire family had been on the run, jailed or dead in the last 50 days. Atiq, serving time in a high-security prison in Gujarat's Sabarmati, was brought back to UP for a court hearing. One of his five sons, Asad, was killed in an encounter in Jhansi. Two adult sons of Atiq are in jail while two more are in a juvenile home. His wife Shaista is on the run. His brother Ashraf was shot dead with him in the sensational incident. Ashraf’s wife is also on the run. Atiq’s sister Noorie is in hiding while his brother-in-law Akhlaq is in jail. Atiq had three dogs of the Great Dane breed. At the mercy of an animal shelter, two of them reportedly died of hunger. His other relatives are afraid of admitting any links with Atiq and his family.
Crackdown on Atiq Ahmed’s ‘business’ empire
The end of Atiq may have left even the Uttar Pradesh police and authorities shocked, but they undertook a successful crackdown on his criminal empire in the last few days. Atiq’s properties and assets worth Rs 1,400 crore were attached in Prayagraj. Several of his properties were aso demolished. This led the former MP to say a day before his death, “Hum to mitti mein mil gaye (I have turned to dust)”.
The Enforcement Directorate exposed assets valued over Rs 1,400 crore and discovered nearly 50 shell companies of Atiq and his aides which were utilised to convert black money from extortion into white. Law enforcement agencies uncovered a huge cache of arms belonging to Atiq a day before his death. In their money laundering investigation, ED exposed a further Rs 108 crore assets of Atiq. The core people running Atiq’s criminal business empire also fell into ED’s dragnet, including a lawyer, Atiq’s accountant, a real-estate businessman, a former BSP MLA, a builder and a car showroom owner.
(Inputs from IANS)