Uttar Pradesh legislator Mukhtar Ansari, lodged in Ghazipur central jail awaiting his trial on the charge of assassinating BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai in 2005, on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court to know if the district court can hear his bail plea.
Ansari approached the apex court contending that the Ghazipur court of district and session judge, which had been trying him for his alleged role in Rai's murder, has refused to hear his bail plea.
He said the Ghazipur court refused to hear his bail plea after the Supreme Court on Aug 1, on a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for transfer of the trial from the Ghazipur court to the special CBI court in Lucknow, stopped the district court from conducting the trial.
Ansari said the apex court had on April 24 too, on a similar plea by Rai's widow Alka Rai, had stopped the Ghazipur court from conducting the trial proceedings, but had asked it to hear his bail plea and decide on it on merit.
As the matter was brought up before the bench of Justice CK Thakkar and Justice DK Jain, it asked him to seek the clarification from the bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, which had passed the Aug 1 order.
The bench asked Ansari to approach the chief justice's bench next week after he returns from an official tour abroad.
Ansari is facing trial along with his brother Afzal Ansari, a Samajwadi Party MP, and their brother-in-law Ezaj-ul-Haque, besides several notorious gangsters of Uttar pradesh.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rai and his nine supporters were gunned down, allegedly by notorious criminals like Munna Bajrangi, Atta-ur-Rehman, Vishwas Nepali, Sanjeev Maheshwari, Rakesh Pandey and Ramu Mallah. The gangsters had ambushed Rai's convoy in Ghazipur allegedly on the orders of Ansari.
The case was originally probed by the police, which sent the Ansari brothers and their brother-in-law, besides Bajrangi and Rehman for trial in the Ghazipur district court.
But on a plea by Rai's widow, the Allahabad High Court ordered the CBI to probe the killing. Following its probe, the CBI found Nepali, Maheshwari, Pandey and Mallah also involved in the crime.
The CBI on Aug 1 approached the apex court seeking transfer of the trial on the grounds that the Ansari brothers were threatening witnesses in the case.
It also suspected them to be behind the recent murders of two crucial witnesses in the case.
The agency had pointed out to the apex court that as per the statutory provisions, the cases probed by the CBI have to be tried by a designated CBI court situated in Lucknow, but the Ghazipur court was continuing with the trial.
The Ghazipur sessions court was seized of the case as the matter was initially probed by the police.
In its plea, the CBI, apparently unaware of the apex court's April 24 order allowing the Ghazipur court to hear the bail plea but stopping it from conducting the trial, had also contended that the local court was hearing the bail plea of the accused despite the apex court having stopped it from conducting the trial.
The CBI had also alleged that the Ghazipur court had been holding the trial "in undue hurry" and proceeded to conduct it in the absence of original documents and on the basis of photocopies of original documents, provided by the Ansari brothers.