Sunday, 24 Jan, 8.12 pm Hindusthan Samachar

House of ex-MP Atiq Ahmed's aide demolished

PRAYAGRAJ, January 24 (HS): Continuing the crackdown against illegal properties owned by ex-MP Atiq Ahmed and his close associates under 'Operation Mafia', a joint team of the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA), police and district administration pulled down the house, market owned and constructed by history-sheeter brothers Akram and Saddam near Ponghat Bridge under Dhoomanganj police station on Sunday. This is reportedly the 49th house targeted by the PDA in Allahabad under Operation Mafia and linked to Atiq Ahmed and his aides in last six months.

PDA officials led by officer on special duty (enforcement) Alok Pandey arrived at the site and supervised the drive which went on for several hours. The team was accompanied by heavy police force along with para-military personnel and representatives of the district administration. The area was barricaded, and all routes leading to Akram and Saddam's house was blocked before the drive was started. The clampdown is being carried out chiefly under Section 14(1) of the Gangsters Act, which allows attachment of illegal properties, in order to effectively curb gangsters, mafias and criminals and their associates, the official said.

Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) zonal officer informed that the property was constructed on over 1000 sq feet and no map was sanctioned for it. The value of the property was worth crores of rupees. "We are taking concrete steps of seizure, demolition and attachment of such properties. The joint team demolished over four dozen properties owned or constructed illegally by gangsters or their henchmen in the district in the past six months. Besides, police and PDA also attached over a dozen properties of former MP worth crores in the district," he said. The police restricted the movement of locals towards the site, and at least four JCBs were being pressed into service to raze the illegal house.

Earlier on Saturday, PDA razed the palatial house constructed by history sheeter Asif 'Durrani' in Kasari Masari area under Dhoomanganj police station. The action against land mafias, hardened criminals and gangsters will go on against all the men on radar to check organized crime, said a senior cop. "We want to break the financial backbone of these criminals. Though they are in jail, they are running their empires from inside. Thus, all sources of ill-gotten wealth, as well as property that it has been channeled into, will be targeted," said a district administration official while speaking to HS.

HS/Abhishek Awasthi

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