150-strong UP Police team heads for Punjab to bring back Ansari

Banda/Lucknow (UP): A 150-member team of the Uttar Pradesh Police headed for Punjab on Monday to bring back jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is facing trial in over a dozen cases, even as his family said they will move the court for ensuring his security in prison as a "conspiracy" may be hatched against him.

Punjab's home department had asked the UP authorities to take custody of Ansari, BSP MLA from Mau, at the Rupnagar jail on or before April 8 following a March 26 Supreme Court order, on the UP government's plea, to transfer him to Banda prison within two weeks.

Senior police officials said a 150-member team, including a company of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, equipped with sophisticated weapons left from Banda on Monday morning to bring back Ansari from Punjab.

"The process of eliminating the mafia has begun," Uttar Pradesh minister Sidharth Nath Singh told reporters and alleged that the Punjab Government made every effort to stall the handover of Ansari but it had to "bow before the commitment" of the Yogi Adityanath government. He asserted that stringent action will be taken against criminals, irrespective of their religion or caste.

The UP Police said that Ansari, who has been lodged in Rupnagar prison since January 2019 in connection with an extortion case, is facing 52 cases in UP and elsewhere, and 15 of them are in the trial stage.

In a crackdown on his gang, the police have arrested 96 criminals and so far seized, freed or demolished property worth Rs 192 crore linked to the MLA and his associates.

Acting Superintendent of the Banda District Jail Pramod Tiwari said all arrangements have been made in Barrack Number-15 for Ansari and no other prisoner can access the area.

"Three prison guards will be deployed inside the barrack," he said.

In its letter, the Punjab Home Department had asked the Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (Home) for suitable arrangements to be made for Ansari's transfer as he suffered from certain medical conditions.

Additional Director General of Police, Allahabad Zone, Prem Prakash had on Sunday said that an ambulance will be part of the convoy going to Punjab.

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