PRAYAGRAJ Custody of the two minor children of late mafia politician Atiq Ahmed has been awarded to their aunt, Parveen Ahmad. The decision was taken on Monday as per the directives of the Prayagraj Child Welfare Committee (CWC). These two children had been residing at the Child Protection Home in Rajruppur for the past seven months, and one of them celebrated his 18th birthday on October 5.
Bal Mukund Goswami, superintendent of the Child Protection Home, confirmed that the custody of Atiq’s two children was awarded to their aunt in accordance with the instructions of the CWC, after completing all the necessary formalities.
The saga began when Atiq Ahmed’s two minor sons, Ahzam (17) and Abaan (15), were admitted to the Child Protection Home by the Dhumanganj police following the murder of lawyer Umesh Pal and his two police guards on 24 February. The two were discovered alone in the Chakia area on February 25.
Following the murders of Atiq Ahmed and his younger brother, Khalid Azeem (also known as Ashraf), on April 15 while in police custody, his sister, Shaheen Ahmad, approached the Allahabad High Court seeking custody of her nephews minors. However, the court rejected her petition on the grounds that the children’s mother was still alive and she could not establish her relationship with them.
Shaheen then took the matter to the Supreme Court and sought custody of her nephews. On August 18, 2023, the court appointed Dr. KC George, retired co-director of the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development, to evaluate and report on the children’s wishes. They interacted with the children and prepared a comprehensive report, which was submitted to the court on August 28, 2023.
During a hearing on October 3, the Supreme Court ordered the CWC to decide within a week whether custody should be awarded to close relatives. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 10.
Notably, Ahzam turned 18 on October 5. In anticipation of the upcoming hearing, the CWC decided to entrust the custody of Ahzam and Abaan to his aunt, Parveen Ahmad. However, Shaheen Ahmad, who initiated the legal process, could not take custody because he is currently absconding in an extortion case.
On Monday, Prayagraj Child Welfare Committee president Akhilesh Mishra along with four other members namely Arvind Kumar, Suman Pandey, Sushma Shukla and Akanksha Sonkar called a meeting. An order was then issued transferring custody of Atiq’s two children to his aunt, Parveen Ahmad.
At 5 pm, Parveen Ahmad arrived at the children’s home in Rajrooppur to pick up Ahzam and Abaan. ACP (Dhumanganj) Varun Kumar and SHO of Dhumanganj police station Rajesh Maurya were also present, accompanied by a police force, to facilitate the process. After completing the necessary paperwork, Parveen took both brothers to a safe place, with a police team ensuring their safety.
Later that night, Shaheen Ahmad and other family members visited the Child Protection Home in Rajruppur to complete the required formalities before taking custody of Ahzam and Abaan. According to police officers, the two children were escorted safely to their aunt’s house. Ahzam was in class 11, while Abaan was a student of class 9 at Saint Joseph’s College.
In accordance with the CWC directives, police protection has been arranged for Atiq’s two sons. Her aunt, Parveen Ahmad, submitted an affidavit before the court, taking responsibility for her welfare and education. She has promised not to make any decisions regarding Atiq’s children without first notifying the court. Additionally, she has committed to providing regular updates to the court on her educational progress and other activities.
Goswami noted that Atiq’s two children continued their studies in an Open School. Their behavior at the Protection Home remained normal and they followed the rules and guidelines, just like the other residents.
In a significant development, the Dhumanganj police included the name of Atiq’s fourth son Ahzam in their case diary. According to the police, Ahzam had created FaceTime app IDs on the iPhones used by Atiq, Ashraf and the attackers involved in the murder of Umesh Pal to communicate with each other.
Atiq’s eldest son Umar is imprisoned in Lucknow jail, while second son Ali is imprisoned in Naini central jail, with each facing separate legal cases.