March 4, 2021 11:19:53 am
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the ongoing Budget Session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday asked the Congress government in Punjab to explain why it was keeping gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari in a Punjab jail despite Uttar Pradesh government seeking his transfer to face trial in cases of heinous crimes.
Referring to UP government’s contention in the Supreme Court last month that Punjab government was “shamelessly” protecting BSP MLA Ansari by not handing over his custody to face trial in UP, Majithia demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
“We demand a CBI probe into this. Earlier gangsters from Punjab used to run to UP (to evade arrest),” said Majithia. The Akali leader also questioned the state government engaging top lawyers to prevent transfer of Ansari to UP.
He said Mukhtar Ansari was being kept in Punjab jail even as the complainant in the case had just named the accused as “Ansari”.
Later, Majithia told media that Ansari was being kept as a ‘state guest’ in a Ropar jail on “a trumped up charge for than two years”.
In a written statement, Majithia said: “Crores were being spent to defend Mukhtiar Ansari in the Supreme court even though the government did not have funds for SC scholarship scheme, social welfare benefits and government employees with a Punjabi University gardener even committing suicide yesterday due to the government’s failure to release his salary.”
Asking the government to “explain the purpose of keeping Ansari in jail”, Majithia stated that Ansari was “hand in glove with the dreaded criminal to ensure he was not transferred to Uttar Pradesh”.
He said: “Ansari was arrested and brought to Punjab on the basis of a vague complaint against “one Ansari” which was registered at the Mataur police station in Mohali on January 7, 2019…following this the state police moved with lightning speed to register a case against him on January 8, get a production warrant issued against him on January 12, arrest him on January 21 and present him in court on January 22.”
He said immediately afterward when Ansari was sent to judicial custody “the government got into reverse gear”.
Majithia added: “A challan was not presented in the case for sixty days which could have resulted in automatic bail for Ansari but the latter did not apply for it proving both the state and the criminal were moving in conjunction with each other. Subsequently, the government is assisting the underworld don to manufacture one excuse after another to ensure he is not moved out of Punjab even for court dates in Uttar Pradesh. All that is left is to give Ansari a Cabinet rank to rehabilitate him completely.”
Stating that “there was a time when criminals used to run away from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh after committing a crime”, Majithia said “the opposite was true now”.
“Punjab is becoming a hub for criminal activities and gangsters are being allowed a free run in jail as was witnessed in the case of Jaggu Bhagwanpuria also earlier. Gangsters are running extortion rackets and ordering killings from jails even as the jail administration refuses to install jammers. The situation has become such that recently even a Congress leader of Faridkot was gunned down by gangsters,” Majithia further stated in the written statement.
“The state should tell Punjabis why crores are being spent to keep Ansari in jail and whether this is being done to misuse him in the 2022 assembly elections,” Majithia added.
Punjab Prisons Department has been maintaining that a panel of doctors has “advised Ansari against long travel”. As per an official functionary Ansari was advised bed rest by PGIMER, Chandigarh, in 2019 and also by a panel of three doctors in Ropar district in September last year.
“We go by the recommendations of medical officers,” said the functionary, adding that Ansari was suffering from “back pain and high-sugar levels”.
Punjab, in its written submission before the Supreme Court, opposed the writ petition filed by UP under Article 32, saying only citizens can exercise the right for protection of their fundamental rights and not the state, which has no fundamental right conferred on it.
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