The man who impersonated him and claimed to be driving the Audi Q7 that crashed into an auto and killed four people was promised Rs 8,000 by a lawyer, truck driver Ishaq Ahmed has told HT.
Syed Imtiyaz Qadri, who lived in the same building as him in a village in Uttar Pradesh, told Ahmed he was only paid Rs 2,000 after he appeared in a Ghaziabad court.
Ahmed, however, doesn’t know the lawyer’s name. He also said he didn’t know Audi owner Dr Manish Rawat, a neurosurgeon with Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital.
The role of police and the lawyer has come under the scanner in the January 28 accident, with the investigation making little headway.
Rawat, who couldn’t be traced after the accident in Ghaziabad, finally joined the investigation on Monday and told police Ishaq Ahmed was driving him on the night of the accident.
But Ahmed, whose driving licence with his picture was submitted by police in the court, was not in Ghaziabad on the night of crash, a fact backed by the transport company he works for.
He was in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with a truck, he said.
After his name cropped up, Ahmed returned home to Bareilly from Guwahati in Assam and spoke to Qadri, whose surrender made headlines on January 31. Qadri was granted bail the same day as all charges against him were bailable.
“Only Qadri, my co-tenant, had a photocopy of my driving licence. I was furious and called him up. He told me he did it for Rs 8,000,” Ahmed said.
He plans to go the Ghaziabad Police to tell them he is innocent.
“I left my truck in Assam and returned on a train. In a hurry, I even forgot my belongings at the railway station,” Ahmed said.
On the day of surrender, an HT team visited the address the Ghaizabad Police submitted to the court. When it reached Labhera village in Bareilly, it found that Ishaq Ahmed was a truck driver and not the person police claimed him to be.
Qadri and Ahmed, who have a striking resemblance, are tenants in the same building. Qadri went into hiding after his cover was blown.
“He is also a drug addict. Sometime back, he borrowed my LPG cylinder and sold it,” Ahmed said.
His wife went to Qadri’s home on hearing about the surrender but there was no one there. Qadri continues to be untraceable. His mobile phone is switched off.
The Audi owner Rawat told police on Monday Ishaq Ahmed was his driver when he was posted in Bareilly. “Ishaq was my driver for three-four months and I also got his driving licence verified from the transport office,” he said.
Rawat said Ahmed didn’t join him when he left Bareilly in June. Ahmed met him two weeks ago and he offered him driver’s job. “He stayed with me at Olive County (Greater Noida) or at my government accommodation at Lodhi Colony in Delhi,” Rawat said.
While Ahmed was in Gujarat at the time of accident, HT found that Qadri was home during the period.
His landlady, Shabnam, said Qadri’s wife Ayesha had told her that her husband went to Gonda on January 29 and returned after a couple of days.
“Qadri seemed upset and told his wife that he went to Ghaziabad instead… she also talked about some accident,” Shabnam said.
Police have since added the charge of giving false information to rash driving and causing death by negligence charges in the case.