Gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari gets life term

Lucknow: A court in Varanasi on Monday awarded life sentence to gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari in the murder of a Congress leader’s brother, Awadhesh Rai, more than 30 years ago.
Awadhesh Rai, the brother of Congress leader Ajay Rai, was shot dead on August 3, 1991, at the gate of his Lahurabir residence in Varanasi. A case was registered against Ansari and others.
Ajay Rai is now a regional chief of his party’s Uttar Pradesh unit.
The MP-MLA court’s special judge Avanish Gautam awarded life sentence to Ansari in the case, a lawyer told reporters outside the Varanasi court.
Ansari, who faces multiple criminal cases, was convicted in a case under the Gangster Act in April. He attended the court proceeding on Monday from Banda jail through video conference.
Ajay Rai welcomed the judgement and said, “This is the end of our 32-year struggle against a notorious criminal. I, my parents, Awadhesh’s daughter and the whole family kept patience… Governments came and went and Mukhtar strengthened himself.
“But we did not give up. Because of our lawyers’ efforts, today the court has found Mukhtar guilty in the murder case of my brother,” Rai added.
He asserted that those who stand up to gangsters and fight will get justice.
“We received threats. I have been demanding security and it should be enhanced. If something happens to me, the BJP government will be responsible,” Rai said.
Ansari’s counsel had urged the court to consider the convict’s age while pronouncing the judgement. The lawyer said they would appeal in a higher court after going through the verdict.
When asked to comment about the remarks of Ansari’s lawyer, Rai said, “We will fight up to the Supreme Court. We fought for 32 years and we will continue to do so.”
On August 3, 1991, Ajay Rai and his brother were standing at the gate of their house in Varanasi when some assailants, including Ansari, came there in a car and shot Awadhesh.
Ajay Rai fired from his licensed pistol in retaliation, following which the assailants fled, leaving the car behind, they said. Awadhesh was rushed to a hospital in Kabirchaura, where doctors declared him dead.
Ansari, a five-time MLA from Mau Sadar seat, did not contest the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election and the seat was won by his son Abbas Ansari on a ticket from the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, which had tied up with the Samajwadi Party.
On April 29, a court in Ghazipur sentenced Ansari to 10 years in prison and his brother and BSP MP Afzal Ansari to a four-year jail term in a 2007 case registered under the Gangsters Act following the killing of then BJP MLA Krishnanad Rai.
After Ansari’s conviction on April 29, Special Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said, “Of the 61 cases registered against Mukhtar and Afzal Ansari, 20 are being heard in different courts of the state.”

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