Process of eliminating mafia has begun, says UP minister ahead of Ansari's return

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Lucknow, Apr 5 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh minister Sidharth Nath Singh on Monday alleged that the Punjab Government made every effort to stall the handover of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari to the UP police and asserted that stringent action will be taken against criminals, irrespective of their religion or caste, by the Yogi Adityanath dispensation.

He was speaking after an 80-member team of the UP police, accompanied by a unit of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), left from Banda for Punjab to bring bank Ansari, the jailed BSP MLA from Mau who is facing 52 cases in UP and other states.

'No criminal will be spared by the government of Yogi Adityanath. The process of eliminating the mafia has begun. Law and order will remain established in the state. Punjab Government made every effort so that Mukhtar Ansari is not handed over to UP Police. But, it had to bow before the commitment of the UP Government,' Singh said.

The UP Government strongly pursued the case in the Supreme Court. As a result, the court ordered the Punjab Government to hand over Mukhtar Ansari (to UP), said the minister who holds several portfolios including Textiles,and Export Promotion.

Asked about the ambulance used to ferry Ansari to a court in Punjab that was found mysteriously abandoned on a highway there, Singh said, 'The Punjab Government is accountable on this.' Hitting out at the opposition parties, he alleged they were seeing communalism in the action being taken against a criminal.

'Parties such as the SP, BSP and the Congress tried to project and sell the mafia in the name of (fighting) communalism. The thought process of the BJP is opposite to this. Irrespective of the fact that the criminal is a big one, or he belongs to any particular religion or caste, strict action will be initiated,' the minister said.

Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar in a statement here said that there are 52 cases registered against Ansari in UP and other states.

Of these, 15 are in the trial stage, the statement said, adding that prosecution work will be completed soon and the guilty will face punishment.

'Mukhtar (Ansari) had committed heinous crimes in eastern Uttar Pradesh including the murder of policemen. He had formed a gang of criminals and shooters in the state.

'He had also established contacts with the gang of Sahabuddin in Bihar to establish a strong crime network and empire,' the statement said and added that Ansari established his hold over the coal market and contracts in eastern UP.

The UP Government has initiated strong action against Mukhtar Ansari and his aides by dismantling their empire under the Gangster Act.

'The estimated worth of properties of Mukhtar Ansari and his aides seized/demolished/freed stands at over Rs 192 crore,' the statement said.

As many as 96 criminals of his gang have been arrested. Action under the Gangster Act has been initiated against 75 criminals. Arms licences of 72 criminals of this gang have been cancelled or suspended. Action has also been initiated against seven contractors of this gang, the statement said.

Meanwhile, BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former UP police chief Brij Lal demanded a thorough probe into the matter of the abandoned ambulance, saying it will 'unveil new secrets'.

'The splendid carrier of Mukhtar Ansari suddenly disappeared and was found abandoned. UP41 AT 7171 will unveil new secrets, and prove to be an obstruction in the throat of Mukhtar. This should be thoroughly probed by a forensic team,' he tweeted.

'My predictions proved to be true. The ambulance of Mukhtar was found in very bad shape. The number of the engine chassis was found erased. Inside the vehicle, there was garbage. The vehicle was changed, which is possible only with the conspiracy of the Punjab government. It is also necessary to probe the drug connection of Mukhtar,' Brij Lal said in another tweet.

The ambulance used to ferry Ansari to a Mohali court on Wednesday was found abandoned outside a roadside eatery on the Chandigarh-Nangal highway in Punjab's Rupnagar district, police had said on Sunday.

The police said they have taken the vehicle in their custody.

Amid tight security arrangements, Ansari was taken to the court on a wheelchair. He was sent back to the Rupnagar jail, where he is lodged since January 2019, in the ambulance after the court appearance.

A case was registered in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki after the documents of the ambulance were found to be fake, the Uttar Pradesh police had said.

The FIR was registered under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 420 (forgery), 471 (fraudulently or dishonestly using documents as genuine), 467 (forgery of valuable security) and 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating).

Amid a row over the issue, a Punjab police official had clarified that an inmate can be transported in a private ambulance on medical grounds and the cost of conveyance has to be borne by the prisoner.

The Supreme Court recently directed the Punjab government to hand over the custody of Ansari to the Uttar Pradesh police, saying it was being denied on trivial grounds under the guise of medical issues.

The apex court had also said a convict or an undertrial 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. PTI NAV RT RT