From Sabarmati jail to Naini central jail: Atiq’s journey spans four states
A 45-member police team headed by an Indian Police Service officer escorted former Phulpur MP Atiq Ahmed to Naini Jail in six vehicles
Gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed’s 1275-km trip from Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat to Naini central prison in Prayagraj was covered in around 24 hours.
Escorted by a 45-member police team and closely followed by media persons, the convoy passed through Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh before reaching Uttar Pradesh.
On the way, there were eight halts. The police team headed by an IPS officer escorted Atiq to Naini Jail in six vehicles, which included an ambulance and two “Vajra” vans.
Only five police officers were allowed to carry cell phones during the journey. The others had to deposit their phones in Prayagraj before beginning their trip.
The convoy first halted at Udaipur, Rajasthan, at 9.20pm on Sunday. The next three stops in Rajasthan were Chittorgarh at 1am, Menal at 3am and Kota at 4am. It also halted at Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh at 7am where he answered nature’s call. When Atiq was alighting from the van, media persons asked if he was scared and he retorted, “Kahe ka dar! (Fear of what!)”
The previous evening, outside the Sabarmati prison, he had shouted: “Mujhe inka programme maloom hai. Hatya karna chahte hain (I know their programme. They want to murder me)”.
After entering Uttar Pradesh, the convoy halted in Jhansi at 9.15am and Jalaun at 12.12pm. The eighth stop was Chitrakoot.
A policeman later said Atiq was anxious all through the night, dozed off only at short intervals. He was especially alert at all stops and repeatedly asked why policemen why they were halting, he said.
Wearing a black kurta and white pyjama, Atiq also complained about not being able to observe Ramzan fast due to long-distance travel.
Naini Jail premises and its vicinity were turned into a fortress where the convoy reached at around 5.35 pm on Monday. Atiq’s van was immediately taken to the main gate from where he entered the jail premises escorted by police and STF personnel.
Atiq Ahmed will be produced before the MP/MLA court in Prayagraj on Tuesday in a case related to the abduction of Umesh Pal, prime witness in the BSP MLA Raju Pal murder case of 2005. Umesh Pal was shot dead in Prayagraj on February 24 and Atiq is an accused in his murder, too, as well as that of Raju Pal.
The court completed trial in the Umesh Pal abduction case on March 21 and reserved the verdict.
According to law, when a sentence is pronounced, the accused has to be present in court. There is no specific law on the mode of transport -- road, train or air—to be used for transferring a prisoner from one state to another, said Santosh Kumar Varma, spokesperson for the DG (Prisons).
In the case of Atiq Ahmed, there is no direct flight from Ahmedabad to Prayagraj and this may have been the reason for preferring travel by road, Varma said.
On previous occasions, gangster Abu Salem was brought to Prayagraj from Tihar Central jail in New Delhi by flight, he said, adding that Prayagraj has a direct flight from New Delhi.