The Allahabad High Court has denied bail to a member of the Mukhtar Ansari gang in a 2010 murder case in Mau district in which the jailed gangster-turned-politician is also an accused.
The court said Ansari's gang is the "most dreaded criminal gang of India" and it is possible that the accused, Ramu Mallah, could influence witnesses and their deposition in the case if allowed to come out of jail.
Mallah, who is being tried in several other cases, had moved the bail application under Section 439 of the CrPC, which empowers the court to grant bail and also impose conditions on the accused if necessary.
Opposing the bail application, the government counsel Ratnendu Kumar Singh said the accused could influence witnesses and secure acquittal in the present case. To this, the court agreed.
"Merely since the accused has been acquitted as the witnesses have turned hostile in some (other) cases, his criminal history does not get evaporated,” Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh observed in his order on March 1.
“The accused applicant is a dreaded criminal and member of the most dreaded criminal gang of India i.e. gang of Mukhtar Ansari. The accused applicant is facing several criminal cases of heinous offences,” it said.
The court said if such as criminal is allowed to come out of jail, he would certainly be in a position to influence the witnesses and free and truthful deposition of the witnesses would be impossible.
"Therefore, I find no substance in the submission of the learned counsel for the accused applicant that since the accused applicant has secured acquittal (in some other cases), he should be enlarged on bail. Thus, the present application is hereby rejected,” Justice Singh added.
The court also urged the State to provide protection and support to witnesses for a free and fair trial.
"Free and fair trial and preservation of rule of law, is not possible, if the State does not give witnesses protection and support for their free, frank and fearless deposition," it said.
The court found it strange that a co-ordinate bench of the high court had given Mallah bail in 2013 in this case.
Gangster Mukhtar Ansari, who was an MLA from Mau, is currently lodged in Banda jail. He was brought to Banda jail from a Punjab jail in April 2021 after a Supreme Court order. His son Abbas Ansari now represents the constituency in the UP Assembly.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.