On the 25th of May this year the Allahabad High Court admitted Afzal Ansari’s appeal challenging his conviction under the Gangsters Act. The MP/MLA court of Ghazipur convicted him under the Gangsters Act and sentenced him to 4 years in prison. Ansari had also filed a separate application asking for a stay in his conviction during the pendency of the current appeal. This matter will be going before the Allahabad High Court on July 4th.
Justice Rajeev Mishra who admitted the appeal has also inquired and requested answers from both the state government and Ansari about the stay application. Gangsters Act. The Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act 1986, was 1st enacted to book 2500 known gangsters of that time and to curb organised crime units.
Here the word gang means a group of persons acting together or alone do any form of disturbing
the public order violently or through the threat of violence, for any advantage to himself would
be considered a gang. And being in a gang they can be punished under offenses stated in the IPC, excise act, drugs, and psychotropic substances Act, trafficking of women and girls, public gambling, etc.
Kidnapping and abduction with an intent to extort ransom come under this act in Sec.2 b (XIV). Under this act, anyone who is a gangster as per definition is liable for a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 10 years and also a fine of a minimum of 5000 rupees. If the crime is against a public servant or their family members then they are liable for imprisonment of a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 10 years and a minimum fine of 5000 rupees.
Article 102 (1) (e) of the Constitution, read with Representation of Peoples Act 1951, Sec. 8 (3) disqualifies any MP or MLA who has been given 2 or more years of imprisonment as punishment. Afzal Ansari has been punished with 4 years of imprisonment in a kidnapping and murder case, and his brother has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a 5 lakh fine in the same case.
Afzal Ansari was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha 2 days after his conviction. Though this disqualification can be reversed if his stay application goes through and the appeal is decided in favor of Afzal Ansari.
Afzal Ansari and his brother Mukhtar Ansari were convicted by a special MP/MLA court with
charges of the gangster act. The case is that they were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Nandakishore Rungta 1996 a Vishwa Hindu Parishad Office bearer and the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.
The most sensational political murder of all time, where the opponents fired about 400 bullets toward Krishnanand Rai and his 6 companions while they were traveling. 67 bullets were found lodged in their bodies. Before the conviction in the MP/MLA Act CBI was probing the same matter and in 2019 acquitted both the Ansari brothers.
Special CBI Judge Arun Bhardwaj said that enmity between Krishnanand Rai and the Ansari brothers wasn’t grave enough to have them commit murder. He said that political factionalism cannot be stretched to the enmity of such enormity”
He also stated that “The case in hand is another example of prosecution failing due to hostile
witnesses. If the witnesses, in this case, had the benefit of the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018
during the trial, the result may have been different,”
The 7 accused in this case were acquitted because the prosecution had failed to prove the
Afzal Ansari said that the court did not appreciate the evidence before it nor the version of
Ansari’s and that the court referred to the answers of the witnesses during the examination in
chief without examining their credibility and convicted him.
The appeal also speaks about how the court took into account the points made out in another
case where he was acquitted to convict him in this case, which is not permissible under the law.
The Allahabad High Court has summoned the lowers courts records relating to this case when
it admitted the appeal presented before it.
The Additional Advocate General raised an objection stating that the appeal was filed under
sec 374(2) of Cr. P.C. but that it should be filed under sec. 18 of Gangsters Act. The appellant requested a leave of the court to change the section under which the appeal is filed this was not contested by the opposing party and since the prayer was bonafide the court granted the permission.
Following the change in the section under which the appeal has been filed, the additional advocate general now has time till 3 weeks to file a counter affidavit against the appellant’s application for suspension of sentence, one week from then is the time that will be granted to Ansari to file a rejoinder affidavit. The next hearing of this petition is on July 4th.