BJP Says Punjab Jail Minister Met Underworld Don Ansari’s Aides In Lucknow; Minister Denies Allegation

New Delhi:  UP’s notorious underworld don and MLA Mukhtar Ansari, presently jailed in Punjab, has been accused of having close links with the Jail and Cooperative minister of Punjab. On Saturday, UP’s Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said that the Congress leadership is sheltering Ansari and revealed that Punjab Minister (Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa) visited Lucknow and met the don’s close aides. Later, Randhawa denied this charge.

The UP Government earlier requested the Supreme Court to instruct the Punjab Government in transferring Ansari, who faces several cases of murders and kidnappings in the state, to Uttar Pradesh. BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh said, “We wanted to bring Mukhtar Ansari to UP…but the Punjab government looks reluctant in moving Ansari out of the state. Moreover the Punjab Jail Minister has now arrived in Lucknow and is seen secretly meeting Ansari’s men.”

The state’s security agencies have discovered that Ansari’s aides reportedly received Punjab Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa at the airport. The don’s aides allegedly arrived in a white Mercedes Benz car and a Toyota Fortuner SUV to receive the minister, pictures from CCTV footage revealed.

“We are probing the incident. The registration number of the luxury vehicles are being checked to identify the owner,” a senior police officer told IANS.

The Special Task Force of UP had recently demolished two residential apartments in Lucknow, constructed by Ansari’s family on illegal land.

On the other hand, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the Jail and Cooperative Minister of Punjab, denied meeting Mukhtar Ansari’s family members or aides in Lucknow. “Why I will go to Lucknow to meet Mukhtar’s men. Can’t I call them here in Chandigarh? What’s the logic of meeting them in Lucknow?” Randhawa told IANS.

The Minister said he had gone to Lucknow on an official visit to see computer centres and services in the State Cooperative bank. He met several officials of UP government. About travelling in the Mercedes Benz, Randhawa said,”Can’t I travel in a Mercedes ?…Yes I travelled in a Mercedes during my two-day visit, the vehicle was hired by us,” he said clarifying, “On Saturday afternoon, I returned to Chandigarh.”

The Punjab Minister said that the BJP was levelling false charges just to rake up issue of a don who was lodged in a Punjab jail.

Once a top cricketer of UP, Mukhtar Ansari stepped into the blind alleys of underworld in early eighties.

The don reportedly executed more than a dozen gangland shootings in Varanasi and other parts of eastern UP. He was also named as prime accused in the murder of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai.

Ansari feared he may be killed in a police encounter or eliminated in jail by his rivals when the BJP took over the reins of the government in UP in 2017.

In early 2019, the don was lodged in a district jail of Rupnagar in Punjab in connection with an extortion case. Since then UP’s Yogi government is trying to seek his transfer from Punjab to UP.

At present, Ansari is an MLA from Mau constituency in eastern UP from where he has been elected as member of the legislative assembly for five times.

(IANS)