NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed shifting former MP Ateeq Ahmad to a high security jail in Gujarat for kidnapping and assaulting a businessman in prison in Uttar Pradesh.
Taking a strong note of the incident, which took place in Deoria jail, the top court ordered a CBI probe into the case.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna ordered suspension of five jail officials against whom the Uttar Pradesh government has initiated departmental proceedings for their prima facie involvement in the case.
The bench asked the state government to give the status report of 80 cases registered against Ahmed, besides the 26 pending in different courts.
At the outset, senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appointed as amicus curiae (who assists a court by offering information, expertise), submitted his fifth report in the case.
Hansaria, assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, told the bench that jail norms were relaxed with respect to visitors meeting Ahmad.
Businessman Mohit Jaiswal had filed an FIR on December 28, 2018, alleging that he was kidnapped from Lucknow and taken to the prison where he was assaulted by the jailed don and his aides and was forced to transfer his business to them.
On April 11, the Uttar Pradesh government had told the apex court that Ahmad, who was lodged in Deoria jail, had indeed kidnapped and assaulted Jaiswal on December 26 last year.
Confirming the incident, the UP government had said CCTV cameras in the jail complex were tampered with at the time of the incident.
In a report submitted through Hansaria, the state government said departmental action against five jail officials has been initiated.
Hansaria had in his earlier report submitted that there were 109 cases registered against Ahmad from 1979 to 2019 which include 17 murder cases, 12 cases under UP Gangster Act, eight under Arms Act and four under UP Goonda Act.
He had said eight cases pending investigation were registered against Ahmad between 2015 and 2019 of which two are murder cases.
The report said the state government has constituted two committees which prima facie found names of two persons, including businessman Mohit Jaiswal's, in visitors register for meeting Ahmad.
It said the committees have found the jail superintendent and other jail officials guilty for the assault on the businessman, and departmental proceedings against five officials and the state government has suspended three persons.
The report further said that after the incident was reported in the media and FIR lodged by Jaiswal, Ahmad was transferred from Deoria jail to Bareilly jail in UP and efforts were being made to arrest the associates of the former lawmaker, who were involved in the incident.
Ateeq Ahmad was a five-time MLA and one-time MP and has been jail since Feb 11, 2017.
In the past he was associated with political parties including Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal (Sonewal faction).
The UP government report has said that some accused have been identified on the basis of CCTV footage of Deoria jail and for their arrest, police teams have been sent to their possible hideouts in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Prayagraj and Delhi.
It said a police team led by Lucknow SP has been leading the investigation in the case.
The top court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a life ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases besides the setting up of special courts to expeditiously try cases involving elected representatives.
During the previous hearing, the court was informed by Hansaria that there were over several heinous cases pending against the former MP and still he had the audacity to kidnap the businessman to the jail.
Lucknow-based realtor Jaiswal had alleged that he was tortured and forced to transfer five of his firms in the names of the former lawmaker and his jailed son.
The combined assets of the firms were worth Rs 45 crore, the FIR said, adding that Ahmad also took away the car of Jaiswal and other belongings before releasing him.