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Some people came to visit Ansari in jail in 2003 and the jailor ordered frisking. On this, Ansari got highly annoyed and extended death threats to the officer while abusing him.
The Allahabad High Court today convicted and sentenced 5-time Member of Legislative Assembly from Mau constituency in Uttar Pradesh Mukhtar Ansari in a 2003 case.
The bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh allowed the government appeal moved against the order of the Special Judge, MP/MLA Court Lucknow passed in December 2020 which had acquitted Ansari from all charges in the case registered against him for intimidating an on-duty jailer by abusing and threatening to kill him with a visitor's revolver.
Court observed that the evidence on record proved that Ansari abused, and insulted the jailor knowing fully well that it would undermine his authority which could cause breach of peace inside the jail. "From evidence on record, it is proved that the accused-respondent on the date, time and place of incident took pistol/revolver from a visitor and pointed towards the complainant and threatened him for his life," court noted.
Therefore, stressing that evidence brought on record proved that Ansari used criminal force with intent to prevent and deter the jailor from discharging his duty, court held Ansari guilty of offences under Sections 353, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. "He is sentenced for offence under Section 353 IPC to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years with fine of Rs.10,000/-. For offence under Section 504 IPC, he is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years with fine of Rs.2,000/-. For offence under Section 506 IPC, the accused is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 7 years with fine of Rs.25,000/-. All the sentences would run concurrently," the court ordered.
In 2003, Lucknow district prison jailer SK Awasthi lodged a First Information Report with Alambagh police alleging that he was threatened for ordering frisking of Ansari when some people came to visit him in prison. The Jailor also alleged that on the order of frisking, Ansari got highly annoyed and pointed a pistol taken from one of the visitors at him while abusing.
As per the prosecution case, Ansari said, "You Jailer think yourself very high. You create hurdles in coming persons to meet me...You come out of Jail today, I would get you killed."
At the time of the incident, the Deputy Jailers, Gate Keeper, and other jail staff members were also present.
The trial court acquitted Ansari in this case finding that the offences were not made out, but the government filed an appeal.
The high court bench noted that Ansari has a reputation of the most dreaded criminal and mafia don who had more than 60 cases of heinous offences to his credit as mentioned earlier. "No one can dispute his credibility of striking terror and fear in minds and heart of the people including the Government officials," the court stated.
Moreover, court opined that even though the complainant in the case had turned hostile, there was no legal bar for conviction upon the testimony of a hostile witness, given in examination-in-chief, if it is corroborated by other reliable evidence.
The examination-in-chief of the complainant jailor was concluded in 2003, however, Ansari's counsel did not cross-examine him on that day. Thereafter, in 2014, the complainant was recalled after his retirement and the prosecution alleged that by then the complainant had been won over by Ansari and the evidence given in the complainant's cross-examination was out of fear and terror of Ansari.
Therefore, holding that the delay in the cross-examination of the complainant appeared deliberate, and there was no reason to disbelieve the jailor's testimony given in his examination-in-chief, which was fully in tune with the prosecution case, court found Ansari guilty.
Case Title: State of U.P. v. Mukhtar Ansari
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