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Mukhtar Ansari: A career in crime and politics

Updated on: 29 March,2024 07:38 AM IST  |  Lucknow

Almost a decade later in 1986, by the time he had become a well-known face in the contract mafia circle, another case of murder was lodged against him at Muhammad Police Station of Ghazipur

Mukhtar Ansari: A career in crime and politics

Mukhtar Ansari. File Pic

Mukhtar Ansari straddled the worlds of crime and politics in Uttar Pradesh. The gangster-politician was booked in 65 criminal cases ranging from murder to extortion and was elected an MLA five times on the tickets of different political parties. Ansari, 63, died of cardiac arrest in a hospital in Banda on Thursday. Born into an influential family in 1963, Ansari entered the world of crime to establish himself and his gang in the government contract mafia that was then flourishing in the state.

His tryst with crime began as early as 1978, when Ansari was just 15 years of age. He had his first brush with the law when he was booked for criminal intimidation at Saidpur Police Station of Ghazipur. Almost a decade later in 1986, by the time he had become a well-known face in the contract mafia circle, another case of murder was lodged against him at Muhammad Police Station of Ghazipur.

Over the next decade, Ansari became a common face of crime with at least 14 more cases under serious charges lodged against him. His growing criminal graph, however, did not hinder his entry in politics. Ansari was first elected an MLA in the UP assembly in 1996 on a ticket from Bahujan Samaj Party from Mau. He continued his successful run on the seat as an independent candidate in 2002 and 2007 assembly elections. In 2012, he launched Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) and won from Mau again.

He won from Mau again in 2017. In 2022 he vacated the seat for his son Abbas Ansari who won from the seat on the ticket of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party. Since 2005, till his death, Ansari had been lodged in different jails of UP and Punjab. He had 28 criminal cases, including that of murder, and seven cases under the UP's Gangster Act registered against him since 2005. He had been convicted in eight criminal cases since September 2022 and was facing trial in 21 cases in different courts.

Ansari was awarded a life term and a penalty of Rs 2.02 lakh by Varanasi MP/MLA earlier this month in a case of fraudulently obtaining an arms licence around 37 years ago. This was the eighth case in which he was sentenced in the past 18 months by different courts of UP and the second in which he was awarded a life term. On December 15, 2023, a Varanasi MP/MLA court sentenced Ansari for five years and six months for giving death threat to Mahavir Prasad Rungta for turning hostile and not pursue a case involving the kidnapping and murder of BJP leader and coal trader Nand Kishore Rungta on January 22, 1997.

On October 27, 2023, a Ghazipur MP/MLA court had awarded him 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and penalty of 5 lakh in a Gangster Act case lodged against him in 2010. On June 5, 2023, a Varanasi MP/MLA had awarded life imprisonment to Ansari in the case of murder of Awadesh Rai, the elder brother of former Congress MLA and present UP Congress president Ajay Rai.

Awadesh Rai was sprayed with bullets when he and his brother Ajay were standing outside their house in the Lahurabir locality of Varanasi on August 3, 1991. On April 29, 2023, Ghazipur MP/MLA court had sentenced Ansari to 10 years of imprisonment in a case of murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court had on September 23, 2022, awarded Ansari five years of rigorous imprisonment in a Gangster Act case registered against him in 1999 at Hazratganj Police Station in Lucknow and imposed a fine on him Rs 50,000.

The Ghazipur MP/MLA court on December 15, 2022, had awarded him 10 years of imprisonment and slapped a penalty of 5 lakh each in two separate cases of Gangster Act lodged against him in 1996 and 2007. Ansari's first conviction in the last 13 months was awarded by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court. He was awarded seven years of imprisonment on September 21, 2022, for threatening the jailor of the Lucknow district jail in 2003.

The Uttar Pradesh government had to approach the Supreme Court to bring Ansari back to the state from Ropar jail in Punjab. Ansari, then a BSP MLA, was lodged in the Ropar jail in January 2019 in connection with an extortion case and remained there for a period of more than two years. In March 2021, while hearing a plea of the UP government, the SC had directed the Punjab government to hand over Ansari's custody to UP, saying it was being denied on trivial grounds under the guise of medical issues.

The court had also said that a convict or an under-trial prisoner, who disobeys the law of the land, cannot oppose his transfer from one prison to another and the courts are not to be helpless bystanders when the rule of law is being challenged with impunity. Since 2020, Ansari gang had been under an intense heat from police, which either seized or demolished illegal property worth Rs 608 crore belonging to the gang. Illegal business, contracts, or tenders worth over Rs 215 crore of the gang was also stopped by the police in this period.

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