The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the transfer of MLA Mukhtar Ansari from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh within two weeks. The Supreme Court order comes as a setback for Mukhtar Ansari, a five-time MLA from Mau, who has over 30 criminal cases in his name.
A special court in UP will now decide whether Mukhtar Ansari will be housed at the Allahabad jail or Banda jail.
The Supreme Court accepted the arguments of UP government that Mukhtar Ansari’s presence was necessary for the criminal trials in the state and dismissed his plea that he would be “in danger in UP”.
Mukhtar Ansari had been lodged in various jails in Uttar Pradesh since 2015 for various criminal cases before he was shifted to Punjab.
Mukhtar Ansari has been lodged at the Rupnagar jail in Punjab when the UP government moved the Supreme Court demanding his transfer back to UP. The Supreme Court on Friday accepted the arguments of the UP government.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy said that the custody of Mukhtar Ansari must be given to the state of Uttar Pradesh within two weeks.
Mukhtar Ansari is gangster-turned-politician who was voted as an MLA from Mau for five times. He is a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an MLA from Mau in Uttar Pradesh. He has been in the Ropar jail in Punjab for over two years.
According to the Uttar Pradesh government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court, Mukhtar Ansari has avoided as many as 26 warrants issued by a Prayagraj court on medical grounds.
He was sent to judicial custody in Punjab in an extortion-threat case. He did not apply for bail despite having been entitled to “default bail” as the statutory 90-day period has lapsed. He also opposed being shifted to Uttar Pradesh, where he faces several criminal cases citing threat to his life.
One of the cases against Mukhtar Ansari is that of the murder of Krishna Nand Rai, former Uttar Pradesh MLA who was killed in 2005. Rai’s wife, Alka Rai, who is a BJP leader and an MLA in Uttar Pradesh, recently wrote to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleging that her party’s government in Punjab was helping Mukhtar Ansari evade court appearances.
Ansari was booked for extortion and criminal intimidation on a complaint by a real estate firm’s chief executive officer (CEO). The complainant claimed he received a call where the caller identified himself as “some Ansari from UP” on January 9, 2019 and demanded an extortion amount of Rs 10 crore in exchange for safety.
Mukhtar Ansari was then lodged in a Banda jail in Uttar Pradesh. The Punjab Police landed in Banda with a production warrant seeking to take Mukhtar Ansari into custody. The transfer of custody happened on January 22, 2019. He was brought Mohali and subsequently sent to Ropar jail.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has more serious charges against Mukhtar Ansari and so began attempt to bring back him to the state. First warrant was issued in February 2019. Then, two more warrants were issued in March and April each.
Altogether the UP police secured 26 warrants but failed to secure back Mukhtar Ansari’s custody. Mukhtar Ansari’s defying argument has been that he is suffering from hypertension, diabetes, skin allergy and back ache. Later, he cited threat to his life referring to the ‘encounter culture’ in Uttar Pradesh police.
That the statutory period of 90 days for completing probe and filing charge-sheet has lapse in Punjab and still Mukhtar Ansari prefers to stay in prison in the state has led to allegation that the state government led by the Congress is helping the don-turned-legislator evade justice in Uttar Pradesh.
Mukhtar Ansari is a history-sheeter with Uttar Pradesh Police having registered 38 cases of heinous crime at a single police station in the Ghazipur district. Mukhtar Ansari has previously been lodged in different jails including in Lucknow, Ghazipur and Mau.
A five-time MLA in Uttar Pradesh, Mukhtar Ansari has been acquitted in a number of cases. In July 2020, a Delhi court acquitted him in the murder case of Krishna Nand Rai, whose wife wrote a letter to Priyanka Gandhi.