A report by news agency Press Trust of India, quoting a book titled Bahubali ‘Baahubalis of Indian Politics: From Bullet to Ballot’ alleging that the Congress-led UPA sought the support of now deceased mafia leader Atiq Ahmed to retain power in 2008 may leave the country’s grand old party red faced.
A no confidence motion was moved by the Opposition in 2008 over the nuclear deal.
Though English Jagran, a media organisation, has retracted the story based on the PTI report saying that the content was inaccurate, the news agency has not made any statement.
The Congress may have to answer one primary question: why did it release Ahmed just a few hours before the no confidence motion? A political analyst said that in any case – even of the release was not related to the confidence motion the move, if true would put the spotlight on the Congress.
“The fact that he along with others were quietly released from jail despite being charged with multiple criminal cases including kidnapping, murder and extortion could bring some embarrassment to the Congress,” he said.
According to the book authored by Rajesh Singh, “forty-eight hours before the vote and with little fanfare, the government furloughed six of the nation’s most prominent suspected lawbreakers, collectively facing over 100 cases of kidnapping, murder, extortion, arson and more, so that they could fulfil their constitutional duties as lawmakers.” One among them was Ahmed, who was then a Samajwadi Party MP.
Whether Ahmed voted for the UPA, as claimed by Singh in his book or he voted against the then ruling government in the no confidence motion continues to be shrouded in mystery.
Many noticed the not-so- aggressive response of the Congress over Ahmed’s killing. The Congress said that while criminals should be given the harshest punishment, “it should be under the purview of law of the land.”
Ahmed along with his brother Ashraf were shot dead on Saturday at Prayagraj while interacting with the media.
The Uttar Pradesh government has now formed a three-member judicial commission to investigate the killings.
Also read: No “Robin Hood,” slain mafia don Atiq Ahmed revealed ISI, Lashkar terror links during interrogation