"No strong evidence to support plea of alibi":Varanasi Court Sentences Mukhtar Ansari To Life Imprisonment in 1991 Awadhesh Rai Murder Case

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The complainant in the case, Ajay Rai, a Congress leader and former MLA is the younger brother of deceased Awadhesh Rai. Ajay Rai contested against PM Modi in 2014 and 2019.

A local court in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on Monday convicted and sentenced gangster-turned-politician and former MLA Mukhtar Ansari to life imprisonment in the 1991 Awadhesh Rai murder case.

Special Judge (MP/MLA) Avneesh Gautam also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Ansari. 

In the 104-page long order, the judge noted that it was clear that in the matter the investigation officer had caused many mistakes pertaining to the investigation.

Court further refuted the argument advanced by the defence that the FIR did not mention the full details of the weapon used in the alleged crime. Court said, "The Tahrir FIR cannot be considered unreliable only because of not giving the details of the weapons used by the accused".

Moreover, while refusing to accept the contention raised by the defence counsel that there were discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses, court observed, 

"The incident in the present case is of the year 1991 and the partial statement of the PW-1 (the complainant) was recorded in the year 2007, about 16 years after the incident, which continued. Then after about 15 years, the remaining statement could be completed and the statement of PW-2 (Vijay Pandey) could also be recorded after about 31 years of the incident. Naturally, almost 31 years after the incident, the partial discrepancies in the recorded statements of eyewitnesses confirm their reality and veracity. This presumption has been confirmed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court by its judgment in Dharnidhar Vs. State of U.P., 2010".

Court underscored that the defence took a plea of alibi and tried to prove that at the time of the incident, Mukhtar Ansari was at his home 100 km away from the crime scene and was engaged in the care of his ill father, however, except oral evidence nothing substantial had been placed before the court by the defence. 

On the other hand, court noted that in the present matter, the complainant had proven the complaint which was also corroborated by independent witnesses and medical records. 

On August 3, 1991, Awadhesh Rai was gunned down in broad daylight outside his house. His brother and former MLA Ajay Rai and one Vijay Pandey were present at the spot. In the FIR, Ajay Rai named Mukhtar Ansari, Bhim Singh, former MLA Abdul Kalim, Kamlesh Singh, and Rakesh as accused. 

Case Title: State of UP v Mukhtar Ansari