Uttar Pradesh police launched a hunt for two suspects who attended the wedding of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officer Mohammad Tanzil Ahmed’s niece on Saturday, hours before assailants shot him dead and gravely wounded his wife.
Unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle fired more than 20 bullets at Ahmed’s WagonR car when he was returning home from the wedding at Seohara in Bijnor district on Sunday with his 40-year-old wife Farzana, teen daughter Jumnish, and son Sahbagh.
Police narrowed down the search on Monday after family members could identify all guests except two from the video footage of the function, additional director general of police (law and order) Daljit Singh Chawdhary said.
Ahmed’s wife, with bullets in her stomach and legs, is undergoing treatment at a Noida hospital.
The assailants were tracking the NIA inspector, a native of Bijnor’s Sahaspur, after he arrived in Seohara on Friday and fatally attacked him around 1am on Sunday when he slowed the car near a damaged culvert on the way home. They trailed him on a motorcycle after he left the wedding for his village 8km away.
Investigators were looking for the motive behind the murder as it was the first attack on a member of the country’s elite anti-terror agency, formed after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist carnage in 2008.
UP police chief Javeed Ahmad said the NIA officer’s frequent visits to his hometown and his activities there might hold clues. “Why he used to go there often or who he used to meet and how other people viewed his behaviour…these are aspects we are investigating. He was shot more than 20 times, which reveals an intense desire to kill him.”
Ahmed, who was with NIA for the past six years on deputation from the Border Security Force, had been involved in probes into the Burdwan blasts in West Bengal, busting of Indian Mujahideen and Islamic State terrorist modules, and catching fake money smugglers. “He was unarmed. The assailant’s pistol jammed after four rounds and he his aide’s firearm to shoot. They escaped soon after. The children escaped unharmed as they hid behind the seats,” Chawdhary said.
Union home ministry sources suspect personal enmity behind the murder. Chawdhary said: “Teams were formed to probe all aspects. District police found there was a dispute over property between his family and some villagers.”