A 32-year-old man, who his family said was a government witness in the Asaram rape case in Surat, was shot dead by unidentified men in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday night, police said.
According to police sources, Akhil Gupta had recently shifted to his newly constructed residence at Geeta Enclave on Jansath Road and was running a dairy at Ganga Plaza at Meenakshi Chowk.
The attack took place late on Sunday evening when he was returning home from his shop.
Family members of Gupta told the police that he was presented as a government witness by Ahmedabad Police in the case of sexual assault lodged against the controversial godman as he had worked as a cook in his Ahmedabad-based ashram.
They said Gupta and his wife had stayed in the ashram for a long time but had later shifted to Muzaffarnagar when reports of malpractices in the ashram were first reported.
He was interrogated by Ahmedabad Police in connection with the cases related to Asaram and was registered as a witness in the court.
His family alleged that his appearance as witness in Asaram case may be the reason for his murder as they had no enemies in Muzaffarnagar.
Superintendent of police (city) Shravan Kumar said the police are investigating the murder from all angles.