The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday sentenced former MLA Mukhtar Ansari to five-year imprisonment in a 23-year-old case related to the Gangsters Act.
Justice D K Singh passed the order overturning the acquittal by a special MP-MLA court in 2020. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Ansari.
The prosecution had presented a gang chart in the court as evidence against the former MLA.
"The special MP-MLA court grossly erred in acquitting Mukhtar. The gang chart was proved in the court as documentary evidence. Mukhtar is a gangster and he allegedly committed several offences, therefore, he is found guilty for offences under Section 2/3 of the Gangster Act," the court said.
State counsel Rao Narendra Singh said the case was lodged with Lucknow's Hazratganj police in 1999 and a special court had acquitted Ansari in 2020.
The state had filed an appeal against the acquittal in 2021.
Placing arguments on behalf of the state government, Additional Government Advocates UC Verma and Rao Narendra Singh said the Hazratganj SHO had lodged an FIR in 1999, alleging that Mukhtar and his associates committed heinous offences, including murder, extortion, kidnapping and abduction.
The FIR said his accomplice Suresh Kumar along with his three-four people was heard saying that gang member Abhay Singh had got a jail superintendent killed in the busy Hazratganj area of Lucknow.
It was further said that the gang members were dreaded criminals, who commit crime in an organised manner for accumulation of wealth.
They struck terror in hearts and minds of people and no one dared to lodge an FIR even against members of the gang, the complaint said.
General public felt insecure and lived in fear in Lucknow and adjoining areas, added the FIR.
Accepting arguments of the prosecution lawyers, Justice Singh said, "If the prosecution proves that the person belongs to a gang and indulges himself in committing offence with object of disturbing public order or of gaining any undue temporal and pecuniary material or other advantage for himself or any other person, he may be punished under the Gangsters Act."
On Wednesday, Mukhtar Ansari was awarded seven-year jail in another case for threatening a jailer and pointing a pistol at him.
In 2003, the then Lucknow district prison jailer SK Awasthi had lodged an FIR with the Alambagh police alleging that he was threatened for ordering a search of people who came to meet Ansari.
A trial court had acquitted Ansari in this case also.
Mukhtar Ansari is currently lodged in the Banda jail.