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Journey of Atiq killers: From petty crimes to big don's murder

Last updated on: April 16, 2023 15:51 IST

A child whose brothers are priests and a boy who ran away from home -- this is how neighbours and families remember the men caught on tape Saturday as they pumped bullets into politician-gangster Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf.

IMAGE: Forensic team at the spot where gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead while they were being taken for a medical checkup, in Prayagraj, on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Photograph: PTI Photo

According to the first information report (FIR), the three shooters told police that they killed the Ahmad brothers to make a name for themselves in the world of crime.

The assailants, Lavlesh Tiwari, 22, of Banda, Mohit alias Sunny, 23, of Hamirpur and Arun Maurya, 18, of Kasganj, were arrested soon after the dramatic shootout outside the Prayagraj hospital where policemen were escorting the brothers for a medical check-up.


Tiwari was injured in the cross-fire, which also hurt a policeman.

The assailants posed as TV crew and fired at almost point-blank range.

Police described Hamirpur's Sunny as a 'history-sheeter' who had 14 cases registered against him. These include murder, attempt to murder, robbery, narcotics smuggling.

Sunny's brother Pintu said he has no idea how he got into crime.

"My brother used to do nothing, and roam here and there. He has some cases registered against him, but I don't know the details," he told reporters on Sunday.

"We were three brothers, out of which one has died earlier. I don't know how Sunny got into crime. He ran away from home many years ago. I have no clue about what happened yesterday," he said.

A neighbour said Sunny has not been living in the area for about 10 years.

"He was a resident of Kurara, and was normal when he was young. He went to jail after a brawl, after which his mentality changed and he entered the world of crime. After a few incidents, he left Kurara. He was in Hamirpur jail for about a year," he said.

Kurara SHO Pavan Kumar Patel told PTI that the first case against Sunny was registered in 2016 and the most recent before the Prayagraj shootout in 2019.

In Banda, a local resident, who did not want to be named, told media persons that Lavlesh Tiwari's family was unlike the rogue son.

"His family has been our neighbour. The family is simple. Two of his brothers are priests while one is still studying. Lavlesh has been into crime and has been to jail several times. He has also gone to jail in an eve-teasing case earlier," he said.

"He had ambitions to earn a big name in the world of crime," the neighbour claimed.

Tiwari already faces cases of selling illicit liquor, manhandling, eve teasing, and charges under the IT Act in Banda, police said.

In Kasganj, the neighbours of Arun Maurya expressed shock over the incident.

The shooter's parents are dead. Two of his brothers are in the scrap business in Delhi, they told reporters.

They also claimed that no one in the village knew what Maurya did and where he lived. He too appeared to have left the village about a decade ago.

Police are still probing whether he was involved in any crime earlier.

After the shootout, police charged the three men for murder and attempt to murder, as well as under the Arms Act. At least two firearms were recovered from the site of the shooting.

According to the FIR, the accused told police they wanted to make a name for themselves and establish their identity by eliminating Atiq Ahmad's gang.

They said they couldn't make their escape because of the swift police action, according to the FIR.

"Since the time we got to know about the police custody of Atiq and Ashraf, we were planning to murder them. So we posed as journalists and when we got the right opportunity, we pulled the trigger and implemented the plan," one of the accused is quoted as saying in the FIR.

Police said the three assailants had joined the group of reporters who were trying to get sound bites from the two gangsters. The men suddenly dropped their camera and whipped out the guns, they said.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad
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