THE LUCKNOW Development Authority (LDA) on Thursday demolished two “illegal buildings” registered in the name of jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s family members in the posh Dalibagh locality of Lucknow.
LDA officials said the buildings were constructed without an approved map. They added that the properties were constructed on “evacuee property” and therefore come under the Enemy Property Act, which enables and regulates the appropriation of property in India owned by Pakistani nationals. As the buildings were on evacuee property, compounding of the same was also not possible.
More than 250 police personnel and 20 JCB machines were involved in the process on Thursday, when the two buildings, constructed on around 22,000 square ft land worth several crores, were demolished.
LDA Joint Secretary Ritu Suhas, who is also the prescribed authority in the case, told The Indian Express that earlier the property was in the name of Mukhtar’s mother, but after her death was inherited by Mukhtar’s sons Abbas and Umar Ansari on the basis of her will.
“The area on which the buildings were constructed is around 22,000 sq ft. The main reason behind the demolition is that the maps for the buildings were rejected but the construction was completed without waiting for the map approval. They [registered owners] must have registry papers as they had applied for the approval of map, which was rejected. However, we cannot say about the authenticity of the registry as that cannot be determined just by the application of the map. We do not keep the land records. Only on Thurdsay, We came to know that the buildings were on evacuee property. This means that they were not authorised to construct on the land,” said Suhas.
ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, however, said in a statement that the property was illegally transferred by Mukhtar to his mother and was later inherited by his sons.
Suhas, meanwhile, pointed out that the LDA had also issued several notices, including the registered one, but received no reply. The Joint Secretary had issued the demolition orders on August 11. Sources in the LDA said it (LDA) do not have any documents to exactly pinpoint both housing units were constructed. The sources, however, added that both houses were constructed reportedly in the 1990s. Authorities also added that the LDA will charge the cost of demolition and also the rent of the property till date from the owners of the buildings.
The Lucknow district administration has confirmed that the expenses of demolition will be recovered from the building owners and an FIR will be registered. Responsibility of officials under whom this illegal construction took place will also be fixed.
As per data provided by Prashant Kumar, so far property amounting to more than Rs 68 crore has been seized by Mukhtar and his associates. The action taken against Ansari (who is lodged in Ropar jail in Punjab) and his associates includes arrest of 26 people, of which eight were booked under the Gangster Act, for running an illegal slaughter house which was raking in around Rs 2.5 crore per year. After registering of four cases, 13 of his associates were arrested for illegal extortion in the name of parking and earning of around Rs 4.5 crore a year.
Also, 25 of Ansari’s associates were arrested in five different districts for running illegal fishery business and source of around Rs 33 crore was shut. Around 20 acres worth Rs 27.5 crore given for airport was freed and three hotmix plants were demolished. In Azamgarh, land worth Rs 62 lakh was freed from three of his associates. Action of canceling arms licences owned by 72 of his relatives and associates was also taken.
According to Kumar, in total an illegal income of around Rs 41 crore per year has been stopped, along with the arrest of 96 of his associates of which 75 have been arrested under the Gangster Act. At least 12 of his gang members have already been externed for six months.
In June, the Uttar Pradesh police conducted raids at illegal slaughterhouses, vehicle stands and other small businesses that are being operated by members of the Mukhtar gang. Ansari, a five-time MLA, is currently lodged in Ropar jail. He was put behind bars in 2005 in connection with the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. In July last year, he was acquitted of the charges in the murder case by a special CBI court in Delhi. However, he remains behind bars in other cases.
Mukhtar’s brother and BSP MP from Ghazipur Lok Sabha constituency, Afzal Ansari, did not respond to phone calls and text messages.
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