CHANDIGARH: The SAD on Friday accused the Punjab government of giving a "political shelter" to gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari by keeping him in a Rupnagar jail as a "state guest" on "trumped-up charges" and demanded a judicial probe into the entire "conspiracy".
The Shiromani Akali Dal hurled the allegation soon after the Supreme Court, on a plea by the Uttar Pradesh government, ordered the Amarinder Singh government to hand over Ansari's custody to the UP police, dismissing the Punjab government's objection to the transfer of his custody.
Welcoming the Supreme Court's order, SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said, "An impression has gone out that the Congress government in Punjab can stoop to any level to extend protection to a criminal."
"The verdict is an indictment of the Punjab government which has misused its powers to prevent the transfer of Ansari to Uttar Pradesh for two years," he said.
"The Punjab government must answer what were its motives to harbour a hardened criminal in its jail and why it went to the extent of spending a huge amount of money to hire top lawyers to oppose Ansari's transfer to Uttar Pradesh?" he asked.
He said if one state government cannot cooperate with another on transferring the custody of a "hardened criminal", how can we expect other countries to repatriate criminals to India.
He said such actions only serve to embolden criminals and could lead to a further increase in crime in the state "Punjab has become a hub for criminals due to such acts. While earlier criminals used to run away from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh after committing a crime, now we are witnessing an opposite phenomenon," he said.
Ansari has been lodged in the Rupnagar district jail in Punjab in case of extortion since January 2019.
He is also an accused in several heinous cases in Uttar Pradesh.