The Allahabad High Court has refused bail to Samajwadi Party leader and former Member of Parliament Rizwan Zaheer accused of the murder of another Samajwadi Party leader Firoz Ahmad in January this year.

"He is a "bahubali" with long record of heinous offences registered against him", Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh observed while rejecting the bail application.

The victim Firoz Ahmad was the Chairman of a Nagar Panchayat and was a contender for the Samajwadi Party ticket from Tulsipur Constituency in the 2022 Vidhan Sabha election. His wife gave a statement to police that her husband went to Lucknow several times and met the top senior leaders of the Samajwadi Party and was very hopeful of getting the ticket from Samajwadi Party to fight the election from Tulsipur Constituency.

The accused Rizwan Zaheer was trying to get a ticket from Samajwadi Party for his daughter, Zeba Rizwan for the same constituency. The victim had told his wife that he feared for his life from the accused, his son-in-law, Rameez, his daughter, Zeba Rizwan and Shakeel, who reside in the bunglow of the accused-applicant.

On 4th January, after the victim came back from Lucknow and was going on foot to his house, he was attacked and killed. Two assailants were arrested and they confessed before the police that they had executed the offence at the behest of Rizwan Zaheer and the other accused.

The accused were arrested and the daughter of Rizwan, Zeba Rizwan was enlarged on bail by the High Court in May, 2022.

Advocate Siddhartha Sinha appearing for Rizwan Zaheer contended that he has been falsely implicated due to political reasons and that statements of the co-accused, the two alleged assailants, cannot be used against him. He also submits that there is no eye-witness to the incident.

Advocate Rao Narendra Singh for the state opposed the bail application and submitted that the accused is a hardened criminal and 'bahubali'. He told the Court that 15 cases are pending against the accused and that "Out of fifteen cases, six cases are relating to murder etc., inter alia, registered under Section 302 IPC. Accused-applicant has been twice Member of Parliament and twice Member of Legislative Council and once Member of Legislative Assembly. The accused-applicant started his career in the crime world way back in 1987 and on each time when he was enlarged on bail, he indulged in another heinous offence and because of his terror and influence, the witnesses could not dare to depose against him and he secured acquittal on the ground that the prosecution could not prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt as he was able to influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence because of his terror, might, money and muscle power".

The Prosecution also told the Court that the deceased has been killed in a very gruesome manner "for the reason that he was potential challenge to the political career of the accused-applicant".

The Court noted that "It is not in dispute that the deceased was trying to get ticket from Samajwadi Party for Assembly Elections of 2022 from Tulsipur Constituency. The accused-applicant was trying to get ticket from the same constituency from the Samajwadi Party for his daughter, co-accused, Zeba Rizwan".

The Court rejected the bail application "considering the heinousness of the crime, impact on the society, influence and might of the present accused-applicant, his past record of heinous offences".

In the Assembly Elections held in February-March, 2022 Zeba Rizwan contested as an independent candidate while she was behind bars in the above case, and came second with 51,251 votes while Kailash Nath Shukla of BJP came first with 87,042 votes and Abdul Mashood Khan of Samajwadi Party came third with 42,815 votes.

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