On September 5, the apex court reserved the judgement after a marathon hearing that went on for 16 days.
The Uttar Pradesh government filed a status report in the Supreme Court in connection with Atiq Ahmed’s death case and apprised the top court that police reforms and modernisation measures are underway and handcuffing instructions issued to prevent the easy escape of hardened criminals.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has informed the Supreme Court that its police department has undergone a comprehensive modernization process. This includes the acquisition of medium-sized prison vans, drones, body-worn cameras, post-mortem kits, full-body protectors for women, radio equipment, security equipment, ATS-related equipment, and various vehicles. These acquisitions have been made possible through grants approved by both the Government of India and the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The status report has been filed by Uttar Pradesh pursuant to SC’s order on a petition filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari seeking to constitute an Independent Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of a Former Supreme Court judge to inquire into the killing of Atiq and Ashraf amid police presence.
The State informed the apex court that a chargesheet has been filed in connection with the matter concerned. The state govt has given instructions to follow the witness protection scheme. Handcuffing instructions have also been issued to prevent the easy escape of hardened criminals, the state govt informed the top court.
UP government also informed the SC that the state is taking all steps to implement the letter and spirit of Justice (Retd.) BS Chauhan’s recommendations in the Commission of Inquiry Report. It also said that the government is looking into security lapses, leaving no stone unturned.
The state in the report that it is also inquiring into security lapses that may have led to the 3 attackers getting through the police cordon and firing at Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf. On the basis of prima facie reports from the relevant ACPS, 4 of the police officers present on the scene and the SHO of PS Shahganj, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, have been suspended pending initiation of disciplinary proceedings.
The state government submitted that it is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring a thorough, impartial and timely investigation into the deaths of Atiq Ahmed and his brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf on April 15.
UP govt has also invited suggestions from the media, police authorities, medical experts etc, to make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The state govt also apprised the court about the incident and said that as soon as the police team had taken a few steps into the hospital premises, the crowd of media personnel broke through the security cordon and accosted the team to get statements of the accused.
“The accused Atiq and Ashraf stopped and started speaking with the media persons. Suddenly, two of the purported media persons in the crowd dropped their respective cameras and mics, took out state-of-the-art semi-automatic weapons and started firing at the accused a third purported media person also joined in the firing, and before anyone could react, all 3 persons, evidently disguised as media persons, had shot Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf, who collapsed on the spot. The whole incident lasted around 9 to 10 seconds only,” the UP govt said in its status report.
UP government also apprised the top court about the various reforms initiated by them including the deputation of a Special Task Force to take action against crimes by organized criminals and the formed an Anti-Land Mafia Task Force in all districts which is being monitored through the portal.
Effective action is being taken against 66 mafia criminals of the state by identifying them at the Uttar Pradesh government and police headquarters level, the state government said.