Punjab ‘shamelessly’ backing Mukhtar Ansari: UP govt in Supreme Court
The Uttar Pradesh government accused the Punjab government in the Supreme Court on Wednesday of “shamelessly” supporting criminal-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari after repeated requests to transfer him from Punjab’s Ropar Jail to Banda Jail in UP was turned down by jail authorities citing Ansari’s poor health.
When the apex court took up the petition by the UP government seeking Ansari’s transfer out of Punjab, an adjournment request was made by senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for the Punjab government.
The bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy posted the matter to Tuesday. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the UP government remarked, “The state (Punjab) seems to be more concerned than the accused.” At this, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for Ansari shared a light moment by saying, “I am just a small fly. Two states are fighting over me.”
Mehta replied, “You are such a powerful fly that one state is shamelessly coming to your support.” Rohatgi wittingly added, “If that is so, why don’t you make me the chief minister”, at which Mehta quipped, “Possibly, that’s what the state is trying to do.”
The banter between the lawyers did not engage the court’s attention. However, documents filed by UP before the court spelt out the bitterness between the two states over being denied the custody of Ansari, who 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.
“I am appalled (by their statement). May God forgive them for what they are saying! I will like to give reverence to pendency of the matter before a court of law and make no comment,” Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda said.