'Will open Pandora's Box': Punjab opposes UP govt plea in Supreme Court seeking Mukhtar Ansari's transfer
The Punjab government on Thursday once again opposed Uttar Pradesh government's plea in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari. Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Punjab government, said criminal proceedings against Ansari have been going on the Uttar Pradesh for 15 years and the present writ petition of Uttar Pradesh is "not maintainable".
Dave told the bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and R S Reddy that Ansari is unwell and central government-run PGI Chandigarh has been giving medical certificates to him from time to time. He added that response of Punjab government has been based on medical records.
He said that this matter is of very serious nature and would open the Pandora's Box if the plea of Uttar Pradesh is allowed as this would lead to a situation in future, when states would come to the apex court against each other.
Ansari's lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said UP government has no "fundamental right" to seek Ansari's transfer from Ropar prison to a district jail in Banda.
Rohatgi said that because of his political affiliation to a party in opposition, he is being targeted.
“My co-accused in a case was encountered. Uttar Pradesh has an axe to grind against Punjab and the court should not allow its shoulders to be used to fire a gun. This should not be allowed,” Rohatgi said.
The lawyer also said that Ansari has been appearing in all courts through video conferencing so the arguments that trials are being stalled are "bogus".
Rohatgi also sought transfer of cases outside Uttar Pradesh citing political vendetta.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, said that the court can order Ansari's transfer to Banda jail under Article 142 as around 14 and 15 cases are at final stages.
Mehta also said that Ansari has flouted the jail manual rules and right of the victim and the state at large cannot be overlooked and the accused cannot be allowed to jettison the fair trial.
Ansari is lodged in district jail Ropar in Punjab in connection with an alleged extortion case since January 2019. He is also accused in several cases of heinous crimes lodged in Uttar Pradesh. He is a sitting member of the UP Legislative Assembly and has 10 cases ranging from murder, extortion, cheating and fraud to those under the Gangster Act against him in the state.
During earlier hearing, the Uttar Pradesh government told the apex court that the Punjab government is "shamelessly" protecting Ansari.