Aligarh: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday said they have arrested five men for allegedly killing six people in the Aligarh district over the last one month in an attempt to frame a witness in a 2016 murder case. The five arrested have been identified as Sabir Ali (50), his sons Nadeem, Salman, Irfan and Yaseen. 

According to reports, two Hindu priests, a couple and two farmers were found murdered in different areas of Aligarh in the last one month. These victims, police said, were chosen at random and allegedly killed by Sabir and his sons.

Sabir, who was earlier known as Dinesh Pal, was a Dalit and had converted to Islam along with his other family members several months ago. Police said in 2016, a cleric, Shehzad, was found shot dead allegedly by Sabir and Nadeem in Etah. 

Both were out on bail in the case. Shehzad’s son Shoaib was an eyewitness in the case. According to police, they tried to put pressure on Shoaib to change his statement but failed. They involved the other accused – Salman, Irfan and Yaseen – to carry out the murders to frame Shoaib.

Police said Sabir had confessed to having killed the six in order to frame the eyewitness and a few others in a murder case Police said Sabir and his sons were arrested on Tuesday and produced before a local court in Aligarh which sent them to jail.  

“They tried to mislead the police in the murders,” said Atrauli area Circle Officer (CO) Prashant Singh. “The accused used to drop handwritten notes at the murder site with phone numbers written on them in a bid to mislead the investigators. They even made calls to them from their victim’s cellphones to give the impression that they knew each other,” he said, adding that the notes have been verified by experts and had been matched with those of the accused.

“There was no particular motive to target the six victims. The idea was to frame the witnesses in Shehzad’s murder case and force them to change their statement,” said Assistant Superintendent of Police (Aligarh Rural) Mani Lal Patidar said.

He added that the accused were arrested with the help of “surveillance and intelligence”. 

Three more people believed to be involved in the crime, Mustakeem, Naushad and Afsar, are still absconding. The police have announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for information leading to their arrest.