Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The death of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, while in judicial custody, due to cardiac arrest in Banda Medical College of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday night has led to political reactions across the spectrum. His son has alleged that the former gangster, convicted to life imprisonment in two cases, died due to slow poisoning but this allegation has been denied by the district administration. An additional chief judicial magistrate will conduct an inquiry into the circumstances leading to his death and submit the report within a month. Mukhtar Ansari was found unconscious inside the jail toilet in Banda, he was rushed to the medical college hospital’s CCU, where he took his last breath. With his death, a curtain has fallen on eastern UP’s most dreaded gangster, who had struck terror among the people for several decades. A cross country runner in his youthful days, Mukhtar Ansari took to crime in Ghazipur, after joining a gang that grabbed government contracts during the Seventies and Eighties. His gang was active in grabbing contracts for coal mining, railway construction, scrap disposal, public works and liquor business and it later branched out into collecting ‘goonda tax’, extortion rackets and kidnapping for ransom. Mukhtar Ansari’s gang was infamous for its criminal activities in Ghazipur, Mau, Varanasi and Jaunpur. In jail since 2005, Mukhtar Ansari had more than 65 criminal cases against him, out of which 25 cases were filed when he was in prison. He was convicted in eight cases by different courts of UP. He came into the national limelight when he and his gang members killed BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and six others in Ghazipur in November, 2005. In April last year, Mukhtar Ansari was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for killing Krishnanand Rai by an MP MLA court. This year in March, he was handed a life sentence in connection with a fake arms licence case.
Last year, a Varanasi court sentenced Mukhtar Ansari to life imprisonment for murder of a businessman-cum-politician Awadhesh Rai in 1991. Awadhesh Rai is the elder brother of UP state Congress chief Ajay Rai, who will contest Varanasi Lok Sabha election this year against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mukhtar Ansari was also an accused in the kidnapping and murder of coal tycoon Nand Kishore Rungta in Varanasi in 1997. He was shifted to Punjab’s Ropar jail from Banda in 2019, after an extortion call was made to a Mohali-based property dealer for Rs 10 crore from Banda jail. Mukhtar remained in Ropar jail for two years till 2021, when UP government moved Supreme Court seeking to bring him back to UP jail. Mukhtar Ansari was elected MLA in UP five times, twice as an independent, twice as BSP candidate, and the fifth time as his Quami Ekta Dal candidate. Mukhtar Ansari and his two brothers wielded tremendous clout in Poorvanchal region of UP, and with his death, a final curtain has been drawn on his eventful life.

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