The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a plea of Election Commission seeking cancellation of custody parole granted by the trial court to gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari for canvassing in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh polls.
Justice Mukta Gupta reserved the order after counsel for the poll panel and Ansari’s counsel concluded arguments in the case.
Ansari is contesting the polls from Mau Sadar constituency on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.
The high court had on February 17 stayed the custody parole after the Election Commission moved the high court seeking Ansari’s bail cancellation, granted by a special court in Delhi till March 4, on the ground that he may influence witnesses in the 2005 murder case of BJP lawmaker Krishnanand Rai, in which he is facing trial.
The Uttar Pradesh government and the complainant in the case also moved the high court, opposing Ansari’s release from a Lucknow jail.
Senior advocates Salman Khurshid and Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for Ansari, told the court that he hasa legal right to contest election and right to campaign has been given under Representation of the People Act.
Election Commission’s counsel, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan however told the court that Ansari’s release has direct impact on conduct of “free and fair election in the constituency”.
Ansari’s release may create fear in the mind of the voters if he Awas allowed to roam around in the constituency, he added.
The Commission also said that during election there is huge deployment of police force for free and fair election and policemen can not be added to his security during his release and campaigning process.
Uttar Pradesh government also said it can not provide more police force and “if something happens (after Ansasri’s release) state will not be blamed”, the counsel appearing for the state told the court.
Rai, along with six supporters, was shot dead in Bhanwarkol area in Ghazipur district on November 29, 2005. The case was transferred from Ghazipur to Delhi by the Supreme Court in 2013 on a plea filed by Alka Rai, wife of Rai.
A four-time legislator from Mau Sadar, Ansari is in jail since 2005. He has more than 40 criminal cases against him, including murder and kidnapping. The BSP had welcomed him and his family in January this year after his Qaumi Ekta Dal merged with the party ahead of the UP elections.