Punjab defending Ansari, U.P. govt. tells apex court

The Uttar Pradesh government accused its Punjab counterpart in the Supreme Court on Monday of “vociferously” defending politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is in district jail Rupnagar in connection with an alleged extortion case.

Appearing for Uttar Pradesh before a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Punjab government is “supporting a gangster”.

Mr. Mehta said Ansari, a BSP MLA from Mau constituency, is accused in cases involving several heinous offences.

“The State (Punjab) says Mukhtar Ansari is suffering from depression. Ansari says he belongs to a family of freedom fighters. The point is there are several cases of heinous offences lodged against him (in Uttar Pradesh). He is a gangster. He is happy in jail in Punjab,” Mr. Mehta submitted.

“Why should the State of Punjab support Mukhtar Ansari,” the Solicitor General asked.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by U.P. seeking a direction to Punjab and Rupnagar Jail authority to immediately hand over the custody of Ansari to District Jail, Banda. It has also sought a direction to transfer the criminal proceedings and trial in the extortion case in Punjab to the special court in Allahabad.

The counsel appearing for Ansari said that he has also filed a petition seeking transfer of case from U.P. to Punjab and that plea should also be heard along with this matter. The court scheduled the case for hearing on February 24.

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