Punjab: AAP Malerkotla councillor shot dead inside gym

AAP councillor Mohammad Akbar ‘Bholi’, 55, was shot dead inside his gym at about 8.15am in Malerkotla Sunday. Akbar had won his maiden municipal contest on a Congress ticket in February 2021 but had switched allegiance to AAP ahead of the 2022 Vidhan Sabha polls. In January 2020, his elder brother Mohd Anwar – a Congress councillor – had also been shot dead.

On Sunday morning, he was jogging in his gym, which he runs free of cost for youngsters, when an unidentified person shot him dead. “According to the video footage, one person dressed in a black T-shirt without any mask shot at Akbar as he got close to the youngster to talk to him,” said sources.

Video footage shows that the youngster took out his revolver and fired at Akbar the moment the latter got close to him, and fled from the spot. Police sources claimed that the youngster was accompanied by another person and they had come to the gym on a bike.

Waseem Sheikh of Muslim Sikh front Punjab said, “Akbar was president of our front but then last year he joined the Congress to contest the municipal council polls in Malerkotla. He used to run this gym free of cost for youngsters as he wanted them to stay away from drugs and stay fit.”

Notably, Mohd Akbar’s elder brother Mohd Anwar was the owner of Rani Mahal palace where gangster Abdul Rashid Ghuddu was killed in November 2019, when Ghuddu was out on parole. Anwar himself was shot at when he was pillion riding a two-wheeler. Anwar was a close aide of former Congress minister Razia Sultana. Mohd Akbar joined active politics after his brother’s death.

Apart from the gym, Akbar owned a garments business, a real estate firm and a few other ventures. Malerkotla MLA Mohd Jameel Ur Rehman expressed shock at his murder and stated that the guilty must be punished.

Meanwhile, SSP Avneet Kaur Sidhu said the police were investigating the case.

An FIR has been lodged against unknown persons on charges of murder.

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