Gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment by Ghazipur’s MP-MLA court along with a fine of ₹ 5 lakh in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday for the kidnapping and murder case of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Krishnanand Rai. The court reserved its verdict on Ansari’s elder brother and BSP MP Afzal Ansari, who is an accused in the case.
Mukhtar Ansari is a gangster-turned-politician who has been a five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Mau constituency. He is a relative of India’s former Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari. Involved in mafia activities around Ghazipur during the 1970s, Ansari made a name for himself as a gangster and later joined politics. Ansari, in jail for over 15 years now has almost 60 cases of land grabbing, extortion and murder on him.
Ansari is also known for his few renowned family members, including former Vice President of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, his paternal grandfather, was a freedom fighter and also served as the president of Congress party. His maternal grandfather, Mohammad Usman, served as a Brigadier in the Indian Army. He was killed in the Indo-Pak war in 1948 and was posthumously awarded Mahaveer Chakra.
Mukhtar Ansari started his political career in the early 1990s as a student union leader in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and was later elected as an MLA in 1996. He eventually became the undisputed leader of the Poorvanchal region and capitalized on the Muslim vote bank. Ansari has also been accused of inciting communal violence in Mau district. He and his brother joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2007 after claiming that the charges against them were false and motivated. However, they were expelled from the party in 2010. Ansari had represented the Mau Sadar seat five times – twice as a BSP candidate and thrice as an Independent. He did not contest the last Assembly election and fielded his elder son Abbas from the same Mau Sadar seat on a ticket of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which had allied with the Samajwadi Party for the polls.
BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai was killed on November 29, 2005 while he attended a wedding in his hometown. Police had warned Rai of a death threat during the time of hired killers at Ansari’s residence. Rai was persuaded to start a cricket match and not to use his bullet-proof vehicle. On his way back home, Rai had been shot by automatic rifles. Seven people in total had died.
This is the fourth case in which Ansari has been convicted in. He was convicted of three other crimes last year. One of them was for intimidating a jailer who was on duty. Ansari had abused the said jailer and threatened to kill him. Ansari was also convicted for five years in a 23-year-old case. He was sentenced under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986.
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