The Uttar Pradesh government assured the Supreme Court on Friday it will strengthen the security of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari inside the Banda jail, if needed, so no harm is done to him.
A bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Sanjay Karol was hearing a plea by Ansari’s son Umar Ansari seeking a direction to transfer his father to any prison outside Uttar Pradesh.
“The concern raised in this petition is safety and security of detained person even within the precincts of the jail.
“On the plea for transfer of the detenue outside of UP, ASG prays for time to seek instructions. Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj assures that augmentation of security, if needed, will be done to ensure that no harm is caused to him (Mukhtar),” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on January 16.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Umar Ansari, submitted that the petitioner’s father was convicted in the murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai.
“Out of eight accused, four have already been shot down. There is a genuine threat perception in his case. There is danger to his life,” Sibal said.
Sibal said one of the accused was shot dead while he was being produced in a courtroom.
The ASG opposed the plea for transfer of Mukhtar Ansari, a multiple time former MLA from Mau in Uttar Pradesh, saying he was sent to Banda jail on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Nataraj sought time to seek instructions on the plea.
Umar Ansari has said in his petition that as Mukhtar Ansari belongs to a political party that is opposed to the state’s ruling BJP, both “politically and ideologically”, his family has been a target of “persecution” by the State.
The petition has sought the top court’s direction to transfer him from Banda jail to any prison outside Uttar Pradesh.
“The state has consistently been taking a personally inimical position against the petitioner’s family, particularly his father, but now the petitioner’s father has received reliable information that his life is in grave danger and there is a conspiracy afoot involving several actors within the state establishment to assassinate him in Banda jail,” it claimed.
The plea also sought a direction that Mukhtar Ansari be produced before courts only through vodeo conferencing.
“The petitioner (Umar Ansari) herein has been constrained to file this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India as the petitioner apprehends an imminent and serious threat to his father i.e. Mukhtar Ansari’s life who is currently lodged in Banda jail (Uttar Pradesh),” it said.
Under Article 32 of the Constitution, an Indian citizen can approach the Supreme Court directly for issuance of writ or directions in case they feel their fundamental rights have been violated.
It said the petitioner, being extremely fearful and concerned for his father, has been constrained to move the top court with the sole aim of protecting the life of his father. “The petitioner apprehends a grave and imminent threat to his father’s life and limb in Banda jail,” it said.
The plea said the petitioner’s mother had earlier approached the Allahabad High Court for protection, safety and security of Mukhtar Ansari. It said the high court had in May this year ordered enhanced security for him.
“Further, another cause of concern is that even after the passing of the order dated May 3, 2023 by the Allahabad High Court granting enhanced security to the petitioner’s father, there was an incident on May 18, 2023 where certain unidentified and suspicious persons visited jail barracks of the petitioner’s father,” it alleged.
“The petitioner is deeply disturbed by the above-mentioned series of events including the murder of persons who were accused with his father in the BJP leader Krishnanand Rai murder case as well as co-accused in other cases under circumstances suggesting State complicity, the murder of late Atiq Ahmad and his brother in full police protection and therefore the petitioner apprehends an imminent threat to his father’s life,” the plea said.
It said the apprehension also stemmed from the fact that Mukhtar Ansari is an eyewitness in many criminal cases where influential members of the ruling BJP are accused.
“Therefore, covert and overt attempts are being made in order to take away the life of the petitioner’s father and deter the progress of such criminal cases,” it claimed.
The petition said several attempts have already been made on the life of Mukhtar Ansari by those inimical to him in view of his political affiliations.