The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea seeking a probe into the killings of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf.

The plea sought a direction for setting up of an expert committee headed by a former apex court judge to investigate the killings. The case will be listed for hearing on April 24.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari moved the apex court seeking an independent expert committee and also sought an inquiry into the 183 encounters that have taken place in Uttar Pradesh since 2017.

Ahmad and his brother were shot dead by three assailants, posing as journalists, while they were being escorted by police personnel to a medical college in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj for a check up on Saturday night.

The plea sought guidelines to safeguard the rule of law by constituting an independent expert committee under the chairmanship of a former Supreme Court judge and also to inquire into the 183 encounters which had occurred since 2017 as stated by Uttar Pradesh Special Director General of Police (Law and Order).

The petitioner also sought a probe into the murder of Ahmad and his brother under police custody and stressed that "such actions by police are a severe threat to democracy and rule of law and lead to police state".

The plea said extra judicial killings or fake police encounters do not have a place under the law and further argued that in a democratic society the police cannot be allowed to become a mode of delivering final justice, as the power of punishment is only vested in the judiciary.

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