Atiq Ahmed Once Attempted To Capture A Property Of A Nehru-Gandhi Relative; It Took Direct Intervention From The PMO To Stop Him
The 40-year reign of terror of mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed came to an end on Saturday (15 April) when three youngsters shot him and his brother Ashraf while they were on their way for a health check-up.
Among the countless stories of Ahmed’s belligerence and terror, none seems more outlandish than the time he came to loggerheads with Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) ended up intervening to put an end to the issue.
Ahmed was a five-time MLA and an MP from Prayagraj’s Phulpur constituency. The city is also home to the Nehru family, which continues to have a deep connection with the city. Anand Bhavan, the ancestral home of the Nehrus, is also located in the same city — albeit now turned into a museum.
Sixteen years ago, when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power, Ahmed illegally captured a property in Prayagraj belonging to Veera Gandhi, a relative of the Gandhi family. Back then, Ahmed was a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Samajwadi Party (SP), which was in power in the state.
The property, located in the Civil Lines area of Prayagraj, had been on Ahmed’s radar for quite some time. After buying the adjoining property, he had his operatives seized the Gandhi family property and put their own locks on the gates.
Such was Ahmed’s reign of terror that even the police refused to take action. The victim ended up approaching Sonia Gandhi, who in turn briefed the then prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The PMO became active and issued orders to all senior officials in the state. Sonia Gandhi, on the other hand, approached the influential Congress leader from Prayagraj, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, asking her to speak to Ahmed.
On realising that both Sonia Gandhi and the PMO have taken offense to his actions, Ahmed decided to withdraw from the property and handed it back to its owners.
The victims ended up selling their property and moved out of Prayagraj. Ahmed later erected a shopping complex on the adjoining property he had bought earlier.
The incident goes to show how at the peak of his powers, Ahmed could only be reigned by the PMO itself, with nobody else being there to stop him.
A year later, Ahmed would come to the rescue of the PMO and the UPA, when he was released from jail for 48 hours to save the UPA government, by voting for it during a non-confidence motion. The UPA government was facing the no-confidence motion following the nuclear deal with the US.
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