SC directs Punjab govt to hand over custody of Mukhtar Ansari to UP police

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday directed the Punjab government to hand over the custody of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in Rupnagar jail there, to Uttar Pradesh Police.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R S Reddy said that the custody of Ansari, an MLA from Mau constituency, be handed over to the state of Uttar Pradesh within two weeks.

The top court also dismissed a plea by Ansari seeking transfer of cases lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh to some other place outside the state.

The top court delivered the verdict on the plea of Uttar Pradesh government seeking a direction to the Punjab government and Rupnagar jail authority to immediately hand over the custody of Ansari, to the district jail Banda.

On March 4, the top court was informed by Punjab government that Yogi Adityanath-led government has got no fundamental right to seek Ansari’s transfer from Rupnagar jail to a district jail in Banda in Uttar Pradesh.

Ansari is lodged in district jail Rupnagar in Punjab in connection with an alleged extortion case since January 2019.

He is also accused in several cases of heinous crimes lodged in Uttar Pradesh.

The UP government has earlier contended that Ansari has been “dodging” the judicial system and is running his alleged illegal activities from Rupnagar district jail in Punjab.

While Uttar Pradesh had alleged in the apex court that there is “collusion” between Ansari and Punjab Police, the Amarinder Singh government has refuted these claims and raised questions over the maintainability of plea filed by the Yogi Adityanath government.

The UP government has referred to the prison rules and said that though the state itself does not have fundamental rights, it can espouse the cause and the fundamental rights of the victims and it may assume the position of the victim.

It said Ansari had flouted the jail manual rules and rights of the victim and the State at large cannot be overlooked and the accused cannot be allowed to jettison the fair trial. It had said that the top court under Article 142 can order transfer of Ansari from Punjab jail to a jail in Uttar Pradesh as around 14 and 15 cases are at final stages.

Ansari who has also filed petition seeking transfer of his cases in UP to outside the state, had submitted that because of his political affiliation to a party in opposition, he is being targeted.

Punjab government had said that Ansari has been unwell and central government owned PGI Chandigarh has been given him the medical certificates from time to time.

It had that UP government has made repeated efforts to seek Ansari’s custody and it has been told by the Punjab jail authorities that Ansari has been unwell and their response has been based on medical records. PTI ABA MNL SA