Wednesday September 22, 2021

Factory worker’s murder remains mystery despite ‘killers’ arrest

July 28, 2021

LAHORE:Sheikhupura Investigation police have failed to resolve the mystery behind the killing of a 23-year-old man at a gelatin making factory in Sadar Muridke despite the lapse of one and a half month.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to know the motive behind the alleged murder is also working at a snail’s pace as only one meeting was held in 25 days of its (JIT) constitution with no progress at all despite the availability of sufficient circumstantial evidence.

That the accused persons are being treated as VIP guests at Sadar Muridke police station is talk of the town. All videos are also available to this reporter. It is alleged the accused were being entertained with lavish meals in an air-conditioned room. All videos in this regard are also available to this reporter. On June 05, 2021, storekeeper Syed Afaq Gilani of Asian Pak Gelatin Factory on Khori Stop near Muridke reached his workplace at 8:30am with his brother. At around 11:11am, factory incharge Riaz Sajid called his mother and said that Afaq had not reached the Factory despite the on-record entry in the factory register.

Within two hours the victim’s mother received another call from Manager Adnanur Rehman who, contrary to the call of Riaz Sajid, confirmed that Afaq had come to the factory but had disappeared. The family reached the factory. The factory guards initially refused entry. Later, the family engaged police on Rescue 15. The owner of the factory and his management did not allow even police to find the victim from the processing units and suggested they search for him on their own from outside the factory. Next day, the owner of the factory Sheikh Zuhaib, Incharge Riaz, Manager Adnan and Nadeem informed police that his body was found in one of the ponds. Police team headed by ASI Latif reached the scene and recovered the body. The body was not putrefied which suggested that he was killed at some other place of the factory, and later his body was thrown into the pond to distract the investigators and dub it an accidental death. The victim’s android cell phone was missing while his manual cell phone and some cash were recovered from his pocket.

His shirt was also tied in his neck with closed buttons as if someone had tried to strangulate him. The autopsy report, available with The News, reads, “There is dark brown and greenish discoloration of abdomen, chest, roof of neck and shoulders with reddish discoloration mainly in front of neck and central chest due to loosening of epidermis.

Soon after the recovery of the body, Incharge Riaz disappeared from the scene. Police took five persons, including factory owner Sheikh Zuhaib, Manager Adnan, Nadeem, Ali Akbar and guard Imran, into custody. Later on, Riaz also surrendered before police. At least 40 persons work at the factory, and most of them told reporters the victim Afaq was a gentleman. It is also important to note that the victim was a storekeeper and he had nothing to do with the processing area. But on the day of the incident, Incharge Riaz took him to that area for a visit. Later, he was seen going alone towards the ponds in the CCTVs. It seemed he was killed at the hostel or near the exit gate and later on his body was thrown into the pond. Following the incident, a JIT headed by SP Investigation Sheikhupura was constituted.

Three DSPs —- DSP Sadar Muridkay Iftikhar Varya, DSP Safdarabad Riaz and DSP City Sheikhupura Shahid and SI CIA Latif Gujjar were members. The SP Investigation and DSP Riaz have been transferred to other districts. New SP Syed Abbas has assumed the charge. He says would look into the matter on merit. Former SP Asif Awan said they had been investigating the incident as a murder case. Forensic reports are awaited while the accused persons were being grilled to know the facts. To a question that the accused persons were being treated as VIP guests and no action has been taken against responsible officials, he said the accused persons were shifted to CIA to ensure justice.

An investigator, requesting anonymity, said that the contradictory statements of the factory management have created doubts and it suggests the victim was killed. He said the JIT has been formed to look into the matter keeping in view all aspects.

The victim’s father Syed Anwar Shah, talking to The News, said he was waiting for the justice in “Riasat-e-Madina”. He added an investigator had been pushing him to establish that it was a murder. Shah asked if it was for him to establish the murder then what was the job of police? The complainant has appealed to Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Chief Minister Punjab, IGP Punjab and RPO Sheikhupura for justice.