Gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari convicted in 1991 Awadhesh Rai murder
A Varanasi court on Monday convicted jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari in a 32-year-old murder case of a Congress leader, Awadhesh Rai.
The incident dates back to early 90s when Ansari had started gaining prominence in political circles. On August 3, 1991, Congress leader and brother of former MLA Ajay Rai, Awadhesh Rai, was shot dead outside Ajay Rai’s house in Varanasi. Ansari was not an MLA when he committed the crime. Rai had named Mukhtar Ansari, Bhim Singh, and former MLA Abdul Kalim, in the FIR. Ansari has also been convicted in several criminal cases in the past.
Security was tightened at the court complex ahead of the verdict. The Varanasi MP MLA court had earlier concluded the hearing after arguments on May 19, reserved its order, and fixed June 5 as the date to deliver it. “Mukhtar has been convicted in the Awadhesh Rai murder case of 1991. The court will pronounce its judgment later in the day,” a lawyer told reporters in Varanasi.
The investigation of the case was handed over to the CB-CID. Interestingly, during the hearing of the case in June 2022, it was found that the case diary had disappeared. The entire case was heard on the basis of photocopies. This is the first case where the verdict has been pronounced on the basis of duplicate papers.
Reacting to the court verdict, Ajay Rai said, “Our wait for justice has finally ended after many years. 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, the court has found Mukhtar guilty in the murder case of my brother.”
Mukhtar Ansari is a dreaded gangster-turned-politician in UP. He has been an MLA for five consecutive terms from the Mau Sadar assembly seat. He did not contest the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election and his seat was won by his son Abbas Ansari from the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, which had tied up with the Samajwadi Party. He is already serving a 10-year jail term in another kidnapping and murder case. He was convicted in April.
(With agency inputs)