HYDERABAD: As the Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected the police investigation into neurosurgeon Dr Aftab Qureshi’s murder, the Crime Branch put forward new information to show that the inquiry is making headway.
DIG Crime Branch Frahat Junejo revealed that a nexus of a professional gang of kidnappers and employees of the slain doctor were involved.
“We have arrested five other suspects besides Dr Ashok Kumar, including two employees of the doctor,” he divulged at a press conference on Saturday evening.
The DIG maintained that the gang has the support of politicians and police officers. “Even the crime branch officers investigating the case are getting threats.” Junejo, however, did not name any politician or police official despite pressing questions.
The Sindh police inspector general, Mushtaq Shah, handed over the inquiry to the crime branch only days after the botched raid which was conducted by the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and Anti-Violent Crime Cell, Karachi, in Hyderabad on May 30.
According to the details of the investigation, Dr Qureshi was kidnapped at around 8 pm from his clinic instead of the time 10:30 pm as reported earlier. Imdad Solangi and Azhar Solangi, who were kidnapped along with the doctor and were later released, were also allegedly involved in the abduction.
In addition to Solangi, who worked at Qureshi’s Karachi clinic, another employee at the Hyderabad clinic, Farooq Laghari, was part of the gang which carried out the kidnapping. Dr Daud advocate, Akhtar Siyal alias Bhai Jan, Younus Siyal alias Investigator, Irfan Jat, Hot Banglani, Aziz Barejo, Zain Jathyal, Prof Ghulam Ali Khoso and quack Dr Ashok Kumar were reportedly among the 11-member gang. “Many of them are old jail companions,” claimed the DIG.
He added that the suspects allegedly held meetings in places in Hyderabad and at Ashok’s residence in Memon Goth, Karachi, while planning the kidnapping. It was reportedly Ashok who rented the bungalow in Abdullah Valley, Qasimabad, and started living there with his mother, Kamla Malhi. The abducted doctor was brought there after a couple of days of his kidnapping.
Playing both sides
Interestingly, the investigation says that it was Ashok who tipped off the CPLC despite his implication in planning the kidnapping. Junejo described him as a possible double agent. “He contacted the police doctor Owais Memon who later told a DSP in Karachi from whom the information finally reached the CPLC.”
Ashok and his mother were allowed to leave the bungalow before the operation started in the wee hours of May 30, says the DIG. Junejo gave a clean chit to the CPLC and AVCC saying their only fault was that they did not inform the Hyderabad police prior to the swoop. The DIG commented that the CPLC could have made a better use of the informant while raiding the house.
Meanwhile, the crime branch declared the arrest of five other suspects on Saturday besides Ashok, namely Imdad Solangi, Azhar Solangi, Farooq Laghari, Aziz Barejo and Hot Banglani. The DIG appealed the Sindh government to announce Rs200,000 bounty on the heads of those suspects which are still at large.
The SHC had rejected the police report on the grounds that it lacked details of the crime scene, statements of the suspects and involved persons, and overall progress.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.
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