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Mukhtar Ansari criminal cases : an insight

January 14, 2022
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This article has been written by Oishika Banerji of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article details the criminal cases of Mukhtar Ansari, a mafia-turned politician.

This article has been published by Sneha Mahawar.

Introduction 

Mukhtar Ansari is a BSP MLA representing the Mau seat in Uttar Pradesh. He has now established himself as a key figure at the Banda Jail in Uttar Pradesh. Ansari is a history-sheeter in the Ghazipur district’s Mohammadabad police station, where he is accused of 38 horrific crimes. The complaints against the five-time MLA have been filed at a number of police stations throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh, notably in Lucknow, Ghazipur, and Mau. The present article discusses some major criminal cases that are remaining as well as dismissed off by courts across India, in the name of Mukhtar Ansari.

Criminal cases against Mukhtar Ansari

Since 2005, the Mau-based BSP politician, Mukhtar Ansari has spent the majority of his time behind the prison. On the other hand, his time in prison had no effect on his electoral prospects. Since 1996, Mukhtar had won every election he stood in. The mafia-turned politician has been accused of horrific crimes and is claimed to run one of the largest criminal syndicates in eastern Uttar Pradesh. According to the Uttar Pradesh Police’s dossiers, Mukhar Ansari is one of the most feared mobsters, claimed to be part of several horrific crimes ranging from murder, extortion, cheating and conspiracy apart from offences under the Gangsters Act, 1986 and land grabbing.  

The Ansari family has a long and illustrious history, hailing from Mohammadabad in the Ghazipur area. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, Mukhtar’s grandfather, was a well-known independence fighter and the President of the Indian National Congress. Brigadier Usman Ansari, his maternal grandfather, was a highly decorated army commander who was killed in combat in Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 while battling Pakistani soldiers and militia. Hamid Ansari, India’s former vice president, is also a member of the same family.

Several fresh charges involving unlawful land occupancy, falsification of papers, and firearm possession have been filed against Mukhtar, his wife, sons, and other family members in the last few months. The government apparatus has leapt into action, with houses in Lucknow and other towns being razed. Several family members’ arms licenses have been taken, and a reward has been set for Mukhtar’s sons.

Mukhtar along with his brother Afzal Ansari, who is a member of Parliament from the Gazipur constituency, was also accused of the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005 but was acquitted in 2019. Afzal was elected to the Lok Sabha on a BSP ticket in the same year, defeating BJP leader and former cabinet minister Manoj Sinha. The Ansaris are said to have vested interests in railroads and other government contracts, and the Uttar Pradesh Police believe they have significant clout in eastern Uttar Pradesh and portions of Bihar. Some of the most notable crimes alleged to have been committed by Mukhtar Ansari have been discussed hereunder. 

Little known facts about crimes by Mukhtar Ansari

  1. Mukhtar Ansari’s first major criminal case was filed in Ghazipur in 1988 when he reportedly killed contractor Sachidanand Rai over a contract for the Mandi Parishad (Agriculture Produce Markets Board). The matter remains sub-judice. The assassination of Sachidanand Rai ‘established’ Mukhtar in eastern Uttar Pradesh. He soon had his underlings in every area deciding on government contracts. 
  2. Nand Kishore Rungta, the largest coal merchant in eastern Uttar Pradesh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s treasurer at the time, was assassinated in Varanasi’s Bhelupur neighbourhood on January 22, 1996. Mukhtar was suspected of being the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder. Mukhtar received a clean chit following a CBI investigation.
  3. There was no solid evidence to nail Lucknow jail superintendent R.K. Tiwari when he was shot dead in front of the Raj Bhavan in Lucknow in February 1998, allegedly by Mukhtar Ansari and his men. Meanwhile, Meerut jail’s deputy jailor Narendra Dwivedi was killed in a similar manner in 2007. 

BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai murder case

In broad daylight near his native village Goundour on November 29, 2005, accused Prem Prakash Singh and his other associates conspired with accused Mukhtar Ansari to kill Krishnanand Rai, an MLA from Mohammadabad constituency in Ghazipur district, along with his gunman and supporters, using highly sophisticated weapons. Accused Prem Prakash, along with Mukhtar Ansari, Afzal Ansari, and six other infamous gangsters Sanjeev Maheshwari @ Jeeva and others, were identified in the case. Although the accused, Prem Prakash, eluded capture, he was charged with other co-accused individuals. Following that, the accused, Prem Prakash Singh, reorganized his gang and extorted money from coal merchants in eastern Uttar Pradesh in exchange for a portion of tenders. 

In light of the present case of Sc No. 7/14, Fir No. 66/09, State vs. Prem Prakash Singh & Ors. (2016), a Delhi District Court had made the following observations while viewing that the accused persons had not committed any offence under Maharashtra Control of Crime Act, 1999 (as extended in N.C.T of Delhi on 02.01.2002) within the jurisdiction of the territory of Delhi: 

  1. All the accused persons listed in this case were acquitted. They were released from custody immediately if they were not required in any other case. 
  2. Their bail bonds, surety bonds except bail bonds are given under Section 437­A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 were directed to be cancelled and their respective sureties be discharged. 
  3. The documents of the sureties furnished at the time of furnishing bail bonds except for bail bonds under Section 437­A Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 were directed to be returned back to the respective sureties after the cancellation of the endorsement, if any.

Awadhesh Rai murder case

Awdhesh Rai was killed in August 1991, and his brother, Congress MLA Ajay Rai, filed an FIR at Varanasi’s Chetganj police station, accusing Nyayik and four others, including mafia don-turned-politician and an independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari. According to Ajay Rai, Mukhtar Ansari was personally engaged in the assassination of the murder of his elder brother Awadhesh Rai on August 3, 1991, which occurred near their home and in which Ajay Rai was present and therefore was also the plaintiff. He claims to be in the middle of a legal struggle, fighting for justice.

Ajay Rai recalled the events of that day, stating that it was lightly raining on August 3, 1991, and he was standing outside of their house with his brother. Their car was parked in the street. At the same moment, a Maruti van arrived, carrying Mukhtar Ansari and other passengers. Everyone exited the vehicle, fired a shot at Awdhesh Rai, and ran away. Ajay had tracked them down and yelled at them. Chetganj police station, which is located nearby, offered no assistance. The injured was driven to the Kabirchaura Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to Ajay Rai, the case is currently in its trial stage and he expects that this will be one such case where Mukhtar Ansari will get punished rigorously as strong evidence against him has already been placed before the court. 

Land grabbing and extortion cases in the eastern Uttar Pradesh

After being taken to Mohali from Uttar Pradesh’s Banda prison, BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari was detained on accusations of attempting to extort Rs. 10 crores from a Mohali-based builder. On the 22nd of January, 2019, the gangster-turned-politician was brought before judicial magistrate Amit Bakshi, who sentenced him to two days in police detention. Though the police have been tight-lipped about Ansari’s case, police sources said he was detained after a builder in Sector 70 submitted a complaint alleging that he received a call from a guy identifying himself as Mukhtar Ansari and demanding Rs 10 crores in “protection money.”  Warrants for producing him before the court was obtained by a police squad and transported to Mohali under tight security. In Mataur police station, a case was filed under Sections 386 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

On February 18, 2021, the Allahabad High Court denied a petition filed by incarcerated criminal Mukhtar Ansari, seeking a stay on his arrest in connection with an FIR filed against him and his two sons for allegedly grabbing a property in the upscale Dalibagh district, Uttar Pradesh. The Court, however, prolonged the stay on the arrest of his two sons, Abbas and Umar, until March 4, 2021, because their counsel needed more time to file a rejoinder document in response to the state government’s counter-affidavit. On October 21, 2020, Ansari’s two sons were given an interim stay of detention in the same case. Ansari had challenged the FIR filed with Hazratganj police, claiming that it did not disclose the commission of a cognizance offence and that it had been filed for malicious purposes. On August 27, 2020, Mukhtar Ansari and his sons were charged with cheating and forgery in relation to land in the Dalibag region, claiming that they obtained a map sanctioned by the LDA in a fraudulent way with the intention of constructing on it.

State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Jail Superintendent (Ropar) & Ors (2020)

The present case before the Supreme Court of India concerned a Writ Petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, read with Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by the State of Uttar Pradesh, seeking Writ of Mandamus as a direction to the State of Punjab and the Learned Judicial Magistrate-I of Mohali, Punjab, to transfer the criminal proceedings and trial in the case titled as State of Punjab v. Mukhtar Ansari (2019), which is pending before the Learned Magistrate, and handover the custody of the accused, Mukhtar Ansari from Roopnagar Jail, Punjab to District Jail Banda, Uttar Pradesh. 

Mukhtar Ansari, who has been held in the Roopnagar prison in Punjab for over two years, is accused of evading 26 court warrants issued against him by a special court in Prayagraj, all based on medical reasons. Ansari has hypertension, diabetes, back problems, and a skin allergy, according to reports. He has also failed to apply for bail in an extortion-cum-threat case filed against him in Mohali, Punjab, for which he is in judicial custody, despite the fact that Punjab Police had a statutory time of 90 days to conduct its investigation into the matter, allowing Ansari to be released on “default bail.”

The observations made by the Apex Court in light of this case have been presented hereunder:

  1. The petition, filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, was held to be maintainable before the Apex Court.
  2. The relief, sought for transfer of the case entirely, to carry out an investigation in terms was not granted as the Punjab Police was already doing the same.
  3. In exercise of its power under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of India issued directions, directing the respondents to hand over custody of the to the State of Uttar Pradesh, within a period of two weeks from the date of delivery of the judgment, so as to lodge him in District Jail, Banda in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
  4. The Apex Court made it clear that there shall be a direction to the Superintendent of Jail, District Jail Banda, Uttar Pradesh to extend the necessary medical facilities to Mukhtar Ansari and if any speciality treatment is required, then the Jail Superintendent shall take necessary steps to extend such medical care also.

Conclusion 

Justices R.F. Nariman (retired) and S. Ravindra Bhat of the Supreme Court of India, while deciding on the landmark case of Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora & Ors (2020), had made it clear that it shall be mandatory for political parties [at the Central and State election level] to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases (including the nature of the offences, and relevant particulars such as whether charges have been framed, the concerned court, the case number, etc.) who have been selected as candidates, along with the reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. 

Taking the same into account if the list of criminal cases associated with Mukhtar Ansari, discussed in this article, is viewed, the reformative aforementioned judgment seems to sink down the drain. The majority of the cases labelled on the politician have been washed off by courts and state actors. Few which remain, await justice for common people. It is, therefore, an urgent necessity that individuals who have been repeatedly escaping away from the robust laws of the nation, must be subjected to stringent deterrents in order to avoid the prolonged suffering of several common citizens of the nation. 

References 

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-has-mukhtar-ansari-become-a-bone-of-contention-between-up-and-punjab-6910229/
  2. https://www.outlookindia.com/newswire/story/31-cases-against-mukhtar-ansari-between-1988-2005/656845
  3. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mukhtar-ansari-to-appear-in-2-cases-virtually-today-from-banda-jail-101618201076230.html
  4. https://theprint.in/judiciary/26-warrants-bail-but-mukhtar-ansari-still-in-punjab-jail-ups-custody-case-before-sc/585842/

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