The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday raised the question before the Supreme Court on why the Punjab government was defending gangster Mukhtar Ansari and claimed that he is ‘enjoying’ in the jail there.
Appearing before the bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath government argued that Ansari is being “vociferously defended by the state of Punjab”.
“How can the state of Punjab support Ansari so much? Affidavit of Punjab has much to be desired. It says that Ansari is suffering from depression. He is enjoying in Punjab jail,” Mehta said.
Solicitor General said that the Punjab government is “supporting a terrorist”.
“He (Ansari) says he belongs to a family of a freedom fighter. He is a gangster. There are very serious cases pending and the trial of the same is pending in Uttar Pradesh. It’s a question of serious significance. He has been facing serious charges where summons were issued. He got an FIR filed in Punjab and did not even file for bail there and is enjoying in Punjab,” he added.
The top court now posted the matter for hearing on February 24.
The Bench was hearing a plea filed by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking transfer of custody of mafia don and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Mukhtar Ansari, from Punjab to UP to face trial in as many as 14 cases pending over there.
Recently, Punjab asked the apex court to reject the request of the UP government to shift Ansari while citing that he is suffering from hypertension, diabetes, depression, back pain, and skin allergy.
The Bench had earlier sought the Punjab government and gangster Ansari’s response on the plea. It had also asked the Punjab government and Ansari to file a detailed reply on a pending case against the politician turned gangster, the status of the trial and his medical condition.
Yogi Adityanath government had earlier told the top court that serious charges are pending in Uttar Pradesh against Ansari. He has remained in Punjab for two years in a “minor case”.
Uttar Pradesh government had also said that either Ansari should be transferred to UP to face trial, or the case in Punjab to be transferred to a UP court if a chargesheet has been filed. The Yogi Adityanath government had alleged that no chargesheet has been filed in Punjab so far.
“Ansari trying to “play with the federal structure” and misuse provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” the plea said.
The Yogi Adityanath government had approached the Supreme Court to bring Ansari to the state for appearance before a UP court. Ansari’s name is involved in many criminal cases involving murder and Gangster Act among other charges.
Ansari, MLA from Mau remained lodged in a Ropar jail in Punjab since January 2019 where he was named in an extortion case. Since then Ansari has not applied for bail in the FIR registered in Punjab and the police have also not filed any charge-sheet against him.
Earlier, several production warrants were issued against Ansari but Punjab Police did not allow him to be shifted to Uttar Pradesh on the grounds of ill health.
On his part, Ansari has apprehended a threat to his life in Uttar Pradesh and sought to appear in cases through video conferencing only.
The Yogi Adityanath government has taken tough measures against Mukhtar Ansari and people running illegal businesses under his name. Alleged illegal properties worth crores of rupees related to Ansari in Lucknow, Mau and Ghazipur have been demolished by the state agencies.