An MP-MLA court in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday awarded 10 years’ jail to politician and alleged mafia boss Mukhtar Ansari in a gangster case dating back 16 years.
The court also sentenced Mukhtar’s brother Afzal Ansari, the Bahujan Samaj Party MP from Ghazipur, to four years’ imprisonment in the same case. Mukhtar and Afzal were fined Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively.
Mukhtar, a two-time Independent, one-time Quami Ekta Dal and two-time BSP MLA from Mau from 1996 to 2022, had tried to buy a lightweight machine gun from an armyman on the run. The armyman, Babulal Yadav, had run away from his post in Jammu and Kashmir with the weapon in 2003 after being charged with some misdeed.
Intercepting their telephone calls, police came to know that Babulal had agreed to sell the gun to Mukhtar for Rs 1 crore. Babulal was arrested from Varanasi and the gun seized from him.
Shailendra Singh, the then DSP of the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force who had headed the operation and was later forced to resign from service, told reporters after the judgment: “The then Mulayam Singh Yadav government had instructed us to ensure that those involved in the deal were brought to book. But when we recovered the weapon in 2003 and arrested Babulal, the government transferred all senior officers from Varanasi and Ghazipur, where Mukhtar wielded influence.”
“I was taken off the case and asked to remove Mukhtar’s name from the FIR. I received threat calls from all sides and decided to resign. The government in 2007 asked the police to book Mukhtar and some others under the Gangster Act in this case”, Singh said.
Mukhtar is already serving a 10-year sentence in another case pertaining to running an organised gang of criminals and a seven-year sentence for intimidating a jailer. Afzal was taken into custody after the court order in the gangster case and sent to Ghazipurjail.
There are 49 cases of murder, attempt to murder and intimidation against Mukhtar. Afzal, a four-time CPI and one-time Samajwadi Party MLA from Mohamadabad before being elected as a BSP MP from Ghazipur in 2019, is a co-accused in three cases.
Mukhtar was first booked in 1996 for attacking an additional superintendent of police and killing a constable. He was also charged with the killing of a BJP MLA, Krishnanand Rai, and his six associates in 2005.
Special judge Durgesh Kumar said in his order in the gangster case that the matter was decided on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
Mukhar’s son Abbas Ansari, the MLA of Mau and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader, is also in jail in a money-laundering case in which his father is a co-accused. The SBSP is an ally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
Subhash C. Kashyap, a constitutional expert, told the media: “Afzal is considered disqualified from the Lok Sabha as he has been sentenced to more than two years of jail.”