Mukhtar Ansari: Punjab refutes Uttar Pradesh’s charge

No special affection for a criminal, it tells court

The Punjab government on Wednesday lashed out at Uttar Pradesh for alleging that it was ‘shamelessly’ protecting criminal-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, for Punjab, criticised Uttar Pradesh government’s fervent plea to transfer Ansari from the Roopar jail in Punjab to a prison in Uttar Pradesh to stand trial.

“This is like saying [Siddique] Kappan is a citizen of Kerala and he should be tried in Kerala,” Mr. Dave said.

Mr. Kappan, secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, is charged with offences under the UAPA and lodged in a U.P. jail. He was detained while on his way to Hathras a few days after a Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped and murdered.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Uttar Pradesh, urged for Ansari’s transfer, saying he is named in 30 FIRs and an accused in 14 trials.

“His is a classical story like in the films… He is in jail since 2005, but he is operating from the jail allegedly and running his illegal activities from there… One person mocking the entire judicial system… His continuance in Punjab is unconstitutional,” Mr. Mehta submitted.

Mr. Dave countered that Punjab nurtures “no special affection for a criminal”. Ansari is in judicial custody on the orders of a competent court. The State government cannot be expected by another to “override the orders of the judiciary”.

“Punjab is also a State… We too have to try him for crimes committed there,” Mr. Dave submitted.

He questioned how a State could make allegations against another.

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