NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: The Supreme Court on Friday directed Punjab government to hand over the custody of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in Rupnagar jail, to UP Police. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy said this should happen in two weeks.The order comes as a setback for Ansari, a five-time MLA from Mau, who has over 30 criminal cases in his name. A special court in UP will decide whether he will be housed at the Allahabad jail or Banda .
The court accepted the arguments of UP government that Ansari’s presence was necessary for trials in the state and dismissed his plea that he would be in danger in UP. Ansari had been lodged in various UP jails since 2015 before he was shifted to Punjab.
Amongst several cases against Ansari, one is of the murder of Krishna Nand Rai, former UP MLA, who was killed in 2005. Rai’s wife Alka Rai, who is also a BJP MLA, recently wrote to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, alleging that her party’s government in Punjab was helping Ansari evade trial. Ansari is lodged in district jail Rupnagar in Punjab in connection with an alleged extortion case since January 2019.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded a judicial inquiry into the ‘conspiracy’ to give shelter to Ansari. SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said the verdict had lowered Punjab’s image in the country. “An impression has gone out that Punjab Congress can stoop to any level to extend protection to a criminal,” he said.