Land grabbing case: BSP leader, son found missing during raid at their Meerut residenceUpdated: Oct 30, 2019, 18:41 IST
A police team raided the house of former minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Haji Yaqoob Qureshi in Sarai Behleem locality of Kotwali area, Meerut, late on Tuesday night. The team was there to arrest Yaqoob and his son Imran in connection with a case of land grabbing and attempt to murder registered against them. However, the two were not found there, said police.
Superintendent of police (city) Akhilesh Narayan Singh, who led the raid, said the operation was conducted in connection with a case registered against Yaqoob and Imran at the Kharkhoda police station of Kithore circle here. “They were not found at their home. Further raids will be conducted to nab them.”
The SP said that Hajipur resident Muzammil had lodged a case against Yaqoob and Imran, accusing them of grabbing his family land in 2005 by forging documents. “Muzammil won the case in the court and went ahead with taking possession of the land when, allegedly, Yaqoob and Imran attacked him and forced him to run away. The victim then approached the police and a case of land grabbing and attempt to murder was registered against the father-son duo,” said Singh.
Apart from the SP, circle officer (Kotwali) Dinesh Shukla, circle officer (Kithore) Alok Singh and personnel from eight police stations were a part of the raid party.
Yaqoob courted controversy in 2006 when he reportedly announced a reward of Rs 51crore for the head of the Danish newspaper cartoonist who had drawn a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad. Later, there were reports that he had offered the amount to the terrorists who attacked the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. As many as 12 people were killed in the attack. However, Qureshi had denied having offered the amount to the attackers.
Yaqoob was elected as an MLA from the Meerut seat in 2007 on a ticket of the Uttar Pradesh United Democratic Front. Later, he joined the BSP. He then contested the 2012 assembly elections as a Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate after the BSP denied him a ticket. He has also served as a minister in the BSP government in the state.
Yaqoob contested the 2019 general elections as a BSP candidate but was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajendra Agarwal by a small margin of votes. Agarwal has secured 5,86,184 votes against Yaqoob’s 5,81,455. He had attributed his defeat to rigging and had also moved a petition in the Allahabad High Court.
The leader has a frozen meat export business with a reported turnover of more than Rs 600 crore. Earlier, his son Imran, who looks after the business, had told HT, “Why would we spoil our business and image for a land that’s worth just a few crores?”
Meanwhile, BSP state president Munkad Ali has demanded a fair investigation in the case lodged against Yaqoob and Imran. “It seems like a conspiracy against them. Haji Yaqoob has a big business and always helps the poor by supporting them financially and in other ways,” he said.