Punjab “shamelessly” protecting gangster Mukhtar Ansari: Uttar Pradesh govt tells SC

The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the Punjab government is “shamelessly” protecting gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in district jail Rupnagar in connection with an alleged extortion case, by not sending him to UP to face trial in several cases.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy took note of the submission of senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Punjab government, seeking adjournment in the matter on personal grounds.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said he has no objection to Dave’s plea for adjournment.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mr. Ansari, said that he (Mukhtar) is “small fry” being cornered by the “might of the state”.

To this, Mr. Mehta said, “You are such a small fry that a state (Punjab) is shamelessly protecting you.” The top court has posted the matter for hearing on March 2.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Uttar Pradesh seeking a direction to the Punjab government 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.

Mr. Ansari is lodged in district jail Rupnagar in Punjab since January 2019.

In its affidavit filed in the apex court, Punjab had referred to the medical condition of Mr. Ansari and said that he had been undergoing treatment at jail hospital as well as other hospitals from time to time since January 2019.

While referring to the medical condition and advice of doctors, it has said that custody of Mr. Ansari “could not be handed over to the state of Uttar Pradesh due to the specific advice of the medical officers/medical board/specialists” from time to time.

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