Tight security for Mukhtar Ansari in UP prison
Gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari has been lodged inside barrack number 16 of the Banda district jail after his return from Punjab’s Rupnagar prison, officials said on Wednesday.
A team of at least 100 policemen, including two deputy superintendents of police and six sub-inspectors, escorted the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mau MLA on the over 800-km-long journey from Punjab after taking Ansari’s custody from the Punjab Police on Tuesday. The contingent comprised of GPS-enabled anti-riot vehicle Vajra and heavily armed policemen.
The motorcade made only two stoppages in Agra – where drivers were changed – and then briefly in Satti in Kanpur, officials said.
The transfer has come after the Supreme Court on March 26 allowed a transfer petition of the UP government seeking transfer of Ansari from Ropar jail in Punjab to Banda in UP. Ansari was initially lodged in a jail in UP as an undertrial when the Punjab Police obtained production warrant against him on a complaint of extortion and criminal intimidation and brought him to Punjab in 2019. As the Punjab government refused to shift Ansari to UP citing his medical condition -- he is reportedly suffering from hypertension, diabetes, back pain, skin allergy and depression -- the UP government moved the top court.
Only the ambulance ferrying Ansari and one other vehicle were allowed to enter the heavily guarded Banda jail premises on their arrival on Wednesday morning, Banda circle officer Rakesh Singh said.
A statement issued by DG (prisons) headquarters said that Ansari was examined by a team of doctors from Banda medical college before being lodged in the barrack and doctors have found him medically fit. The report of Ansari’s Covid-19 test conducted at Punjab jail is still awaited and a sample was also collected at the Banda jail, the statement said.
Additional security measures have been deployed in the jail premises, including round-the-clock video surveillance in the barrack, officials said.
Banda jail superintendent PK Tripathi said that other inmates have been denied access to barrack number 16 where the 57-year-old MP has been lodged, and security staff in the barrack have been asked to wear body-cameras.
During his earlier stay at the Banda jail, Ansari was lodged in barrack number 15 which was an isolation barrack and it did not have any CCTV cameras, a senior prison officer said.
“As many as 30 PAC personnel will be deployed at the jail entrance to ensure tight security outside the gate. Apart from a jailer and two deputy jailers already posted at Banda jail, two deputy jailers have been deployed there to enhance security measures. Besides, the number of head warders and warders has been increased for internal security of the jail,” the official said, adding that a city magistrate rank officer has been made superintendent in-charge of the jail for daily review of security measures.
Multiple close circuit television cameras have been installed in the barrack for 24x7 monitoring, the official statement said. Ansari’s activities could be examined from the central command centre set up at prison headquarters in Lucknow for video surveillance jails across UP.
On Tuesday, Ansari’s wife, Afshan Ansari, moved the Supreme Court seeking safety for the Mau MLA while he is being shifted to Banda district jail in Uttar Pradesh from Rupnagar jail in Punjab, and also during his trial in pending cases in the state.
(With agency inputs)