AN EXPELLED police constable-turned-property dealer appeared the key person behind the conspiracy to kill petrol pump owner Agasta Kumar Agrawal, who was shot dead in Nirala Nagar on Friday night.
The conspiracy revolves around 16,000 sq ft land located adjacent to Kohli petrol pump owned by Agrawal and his brothers. While Agrawal’s kin say the land belonged to them, land mafia had got forged documents of a section of the land made in their name. On the basis of those documents, they were threatening Agrawal to give them passage to their land or sell it off for a pittance.
Talking to HT Lucknow Live, Agrawal’s nephew Manish said the land mafia and his goons had been visiting the petrol pump frequently for the past three years.
Santosh Singh was the one who used to visit regularly and engage in a brawl with Agrawal and other staff members of the petrol pump.
Manish further said the arrest of Santosh would unravel the myster behind the murder. The cop, who was expelled on grounds of having proximity with criminals and active involvement in criminal activities, had entered into property dealing under patronage of don-turned MLC Ajit Singh after the expulsion.
It was the policeman who had roped in Ajit Singh to resolve the dispute with Agrawal about three years back. Since the don had a stronghold in Alambagh and majority of the local goons were members of the bandwagon, they used to issue threats to Agrawal and his staff frequently to get the matter settled amicably or face the music.
It was the cop-turned-goon who had engaged Santosh Singh to deal the matter, as the cop himself was involved in several shady land deals on Rae Bareli Road. Santosh started negotiating the matter with Agrawal since the past six months and was held main accused behind the pump owner’s murder. Those arrested on Friday night (Israr, Vinod Trivedi and Pervez) were once associated with Ajit Singh as they are either property dealers or contractors. On Saturday, a group of lawyers created a ruckus at Hasanganj police station protesting arrest of Israr and Pervez. Police are clueless still about the main conspirator and the shooters.
WHY WERE the Alambagh police reluctant to resolve the old dispute between Agrawal and the local goons? Was it involvement of some ruling party leaders or had the cops given mute signal to the land mafia for ‘settling’ the matter on their own?
The trans-Gomti police holding their Alambagh counterparts responsible for not initiating proper action into the dispute indicated towards the police-land mafia nexus into the matter.
Petrol pump strike fuels chaos
UNPRECEDENTED RUSH of commuters in the wholly-owned retail outlets (ROs) of both public and private sector oil marketing majors marked the day-long strike called by petrol pump owners on Saturday to protest against the gruesome murder of fellow pump owner Agast Kumar Agarwal in the city.
The biggest rush of commuters was witnessed at the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)-owned petrol pump near the Gomti Nagar overbridge where commuters from far-flung areas of the city arrived to purchase petrol in the morning hours.
All 120 petrol pumps in the city in the hands of private dealerships which are members of the Lucknow Petroleum Dealers Association were closed since early morning on Saturday. Most of the city’s population remained unaware of the strike since the decision to close petrol pumps was taken on late Friday night.
Outlets of other oil majors spread across the city also witnessed a heavy rush of commuters throughout the day as petroleum dealers promised to open their outlets late evening. A large number of commuters, unaware of the location of company-owned petrol pumps, just wandered around trying to find them.
People were seen pleading for petrol and many had to drag back their vehicles to the nearest parking place before proceeding for work taking the bus. “I parked my car at the stand in Charbagh and reached office by bus,” said Anurag an executive with the private firm. Rickshaw pullers made took advantage of the strike and raised the rates charging Rs 30 to 50 to ferry people from Charbagh to Alambagh, or from Charbagh to Hazratganj.
Meanwhile, traders, under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Adarsh Vyapar Mandal, held a demonstration in front of the residence of the district magistrate to demand arrest of the killers of petrol pump owner Agast Kumar Agarwal.
Speaking on the occasion, State president of the mandal Sanjay Gupta said law and order situation in the city was at its worst and traders were worried about their safety.