Mukhtar Ansari, gangster-turned-BSP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Mau, is being transferred to Banda prison after UP police took the custody of the imprisoned politician at Punjab’s Rupnagar jail. Ansari was back in news recently when police officers of his home state lodged an FIR, saying fake documents were used to register the ambulance that was used to ferry him from a Punjab jail to a court in Punjab.
The Yogi Adityanath government had also told the Supreme Court that the Punjab government was “shamelessly protecting” the legislator by not handing over his custody to face trial “in 10 heinous cases of murder, extortion, cheating, fraud” and “gangster acts” in the special court for MPs and MLAs in Allahabad. UP BJP MLA Alka Rai, wife of former legislator Krishnanad Rai who was murdered in 2005, had in October last year shot off a letter to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, accusing the Congress government in Punjab of helping Ansari, an accused in the murder of her husband, evade court appearances in UP.
Ansari’s wife, however, refuted the claims and wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, expressing fears that he might be killed in a fake encounter while being transferred from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh following the Supreme Court direction.
His brother, BSP MP from Ghazipur, Afzal Ansari was quoted as saying by PTI: “To divert attention from the life threat to Mukhtar, BJP government is making wheelchair and ambulance as an issue. If the BJP is making Mukhtar Ansari (2022) election agenda, we and our supporters will also make vindictive action of the government against their family an issue.”
From a Family to Reputed Politicians, How Mukhtar Ansari Became a Don:
• Ansari stands as a sore thumb in a family of illustrious personalities who served the nation. Mukhtar shares the name with his paternal grandfather who was the president of the Indian National Congress in the pre-independence era.
• The don’s grandfather, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, was the grand old party’s president in 1927–28. He also holds a distinction of heading the Muslim League too where he fell out with Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was also one of the founding members and former vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia.
• Dr Ansari’s contribution throughout the 1920s is one of the most unforgettable and astonishingly stout chapters in the history of Jamia Millia Islamia. Dr Ansari had earned his master’s in surgery from the University of Edinburgh and is counted among the pioneers in urology; a ward has been named after him at the Charing Cross Hospital in London.
• The don’s maternal grandfather Brigadier Mohammad Usman Ansari, known as ‘Lion of Nowshera’, was a Mahavir Chakra awardee. Mukhtar’s son Abbas Ansari is a national-level Indian shooter in shotgun shooting and has won medals and accolades internationally.
• According to a report in Hindustan Times, at the dawn of the 90s, Ansari, who was involved in property business and contract work, began expanding his network in the world of crime.
• In November 2005, he was linked to the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Krishnanad Rai; Ansari was in jail when the incident occurred. In July 2019, he was acquitted by a special CBI court.
• In 2009, Ansari, who faces 48 FIRs including 10 murder cases, was again named in the killing of Ajai Prakash Singh, a contractor, in Mau. This time too, Ansari was acquitted, by a local court in Ghazipur in 2017.
• An eyewitness to Singh’s murder, Ram Singh Maurya, was killed in 2010. Ansari was booked for his alleged role in the incident. The case is under trial in a special court for MPs/MLAs. His named was linked to a murder in the late 1980s, but there was no evidence, said a retired police officer who did not want to be named.
• He successfully contested his first assembly election on a BSP ticket from the Mau seat in 1996. Denied the party’s ticket in 2002, he contested as an independent and won the seat in 2002. He retained his seat as an independent in 2007. Later that year, he rejoined the BSP and unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary election against BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi in 2009.
• In 2010, Ansari was expelled from the BSP for his alleged criminal links. He floated the Quami Ekta Dal later that year, contested the 2012 assembly election from Mau as its candidate and won. In January 2017, he returned to the BSP, which fielded him from Mau in the 2017 assembly elections. Ansari won again.
• In January 2019, he was arrested for allegedly making an extortion call to a Mohali-based builder, who lodged a case. Ansari was arrested in that case and shifted to Punjab’s Ropar jail from Banda, where he was incarcerated in March 2017 in a separate case. He has been behind the bars since 2005 and lodged in several jails across the state on different charges.
• In May 2020, police stepped up operations against Ansari and his gang. Seventy-two arms licenses linked to him and his accomplices were suspended, properties worth Rs 66 crore seized, and an extortion racket that supplied crores of rupees annually to Ansari and his associates was busted, according to the police.