Adeel-Tatla case: Zodiac killer cop lands in lockup

Police officer confesses to friend’s murder in crime of passion


Nouman Sheikh March 11, 2020
PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A senior superintendent of police (SSP) who was missing since last month has been arrested after he returned to Pakistan due to the fear of coronavirus spreading in Iran.

Sources said that security agencies detained SSP Mufakhar Adeel from the Pakistan-Iran border and handed him over to Lahore police.

Adeel’s close friend and former additional advocate general Shahbaz Ahmad Tatla had also been missing since February 7.

In his initial statement, Adeel conceded that he had planned the murder of Tatla because he was threatening to assault his wife after having raped his former spouse in 2012.

Police sources said SSP Adeel left his house in Nawab Town on an official vehicle on February 11, saying he was going to investigate an important case. When he did not contact his family and friends until the next day, his wife reported him missing.

Legal hiccups delaying Adeel-Tatla case probe

Senior police officers met the wife of Adeel and took details. After searching for Adeel for several hours, police found his locked official vehicle near Faisal Town market.

The police revealed that Mufakhar’s close friend and former additional advocate general Shahbaz Ahmad Tatla had also been missing since February 7. The case of his abduction was lodged by his brother at Naseerabad police station.

When the police obtained their mobile phone data during the search for both missing men, it indicated that they were involved in licentious activities. Both of them not only dealt in the property business but had also established a CSS competitive exams training academy at Kalma Chowk, Ferozepur Road. The two friends had rented a furnished house for Rs75,000 in Faisal Town for 10 days, telling its owner that a delegation from abroad would reside there. However, dance parties were arranged in the house.

While looking for a clue to the disappearance of Adeel and Tatla, the police detained their friend Asad Bhatti, who claimed during the investigation that Adeel had strangled Tatla in the house in Faisal Town and dissolved his body in a drum full of chemical. He alleged that the officers had thrown Tatla’s remains in Rohi stream from his official vehicle.

After Bhatti’s statement, police obtained footage of the movement of the official vehicle with the help of the Safe City Authority’s cameras. A CIA investigation team also obtained samples from the Rohi Nala near the location pointed out by the witness to find evidence about the body. Bhatti’s interrogation revealed that an employee, Irfan, had helped in bringing the drum and chemicals.

Irfan also went missing when Adeel disappeared but police traced him. He reportedly confessed only to having brought the chemicals and drums.

Pakistan had closed borders with Iran and China due to the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide. When Pakistan reopened the border with Iran on March 7 and Pakistanis came back from the neighbouring country, security agencies detained Adeel during screening, the sources said. He first tried to mislead the security agencies by misidentifying himself, but revealed his identity when he feared that he would be charged for illegally crossing the border.

Police to nominate witness in Adeel-Tatla case

The sources said the security agencies contacted Lahore police and handed him over on Monday after legal proceedings. Lahore Capital City Police Officer Zulfiqar Hameed told The Express Tribune that the police would soon bring all the facts about Adeel and Tatla before the public.

The police sources said Adeel was interrogated in view of Bhatti’s statement regarding the alleged murder of Tatla.

Bhatti, in his statement, reportedly attributed the murder to Tatla’s advances towards Adeel’s wife.

Adeel said in his statement that he had escaped to Gujranwala, before proceeding to Islamabad and then Gilgit-Baltistan.

Police said he was arrested from Wapda Town where he had gone to meet someone.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2020.

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