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Day after Mukhtar’s death, son for autopsy by AIIMS panel, Opp for high-level probe

Drishti mail, Ghazipur, Lucknow: A DAY after jailed gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari died of cardiac arrest in Banda prison of Uttar Pradesh, his son Umar Ansari Friday alleged foul play and sought an autopsy by a panel of doctors from AIIMS, New Delhi even as Opposition parties in the state demanded a high-level inquiry.

According to the post-mortem examination conducted by doctors at Banda Medical College on Friday, the “cause of death is heart attack/myocardial infarction”, officials said. Following the autopsy, Mukhtar’s body was sent in an ambulance — accompanied by a police convoy — to his home in Mohammadabad in Ghazipur for last rites. The body was expected to reach Mohammadabad in the early hours of Saturday.

As mandated under  procedure, a chief judicial magistrate’s court Friday ordered a judicial inquiry into the death. Banda Chief Judicial Magistrate Bhagwan Das Gupta appointed Garima Singh, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (MP-MLA Court Banda), to conduct the probe and submit a report within a month.

Separately, under the jail manual rules, a magisterial inquiry was ordered by Banda District Magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal. The inquiry will be conducted by Additional District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar.

In a letter to the Banda District Magistrate seeking autopsy by an AIIMS panel, Umar claimed that his father was a victim of an orchestrated plan. He said he has little faith in getting justice from the local administration or medical team.

In his letter, Umar said that on March 21 both the Barabanki and Banda courts were apprised through lawyers that his father was being administered slow poison in food. He alleged a similar poisoning incident had occurred 40 days ago, which significantly affected Mukhtar’s health.

The situation escalated on March 26, he said, when Mukhtar’s condition deteriorated rapidly and he had to be admitted to the ICU at 4 am. He alleged that despite his father being in a critical condition, he was denied permission to meet him.

Umar also alleged in his letter that his father called him from the jail’s PCO around 3.30 pm on Thursday to say that he had been poisoned as part of a conspiracy.

At the residence of the Ansaris in Mohammadabad, Mukhtar’s nephew and local SP MLA Suhaib Ansari raised similar allegations of poisoning.

“We were first informed about my uncle falling ill on the night of March 22. The Banda prison officers called Mohammadabad police station, saying that he had fallen ill and was being shifted to Banda Medical College. The local police officers informed the family,” Suhaib told The Indian Express.

“My cousin Umar and Afzal uncle (Mukhtar’s elder brother and MP from Ghazipur) went to Banda to meet him,” he said, adding that the authorities let Afzal meet Mukhtar the next day.

“Afzal uncle told us that he (Mukhtar) complained of stomach issues and severe body-ache. He had also said that he was being poisoned,” Suhaib alleged. “He was shifted back to the jail in the evening the same day.”

Opposition parties, meanwhile, demanded a high-level probe into the death of Mukhtar, a five-time MLA from Mau who faced 65 cases across UP and Delhi.

In a post on X, Samajwadi Party president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Akhilesh Yadav, said: “It is the first responsibility and duty of the government to protect someone’s life in every situation and at every place.”

“The death of an inmate or prisoner in any of the following circumstances will erode public confidence in the judicial process: while confined in the police station; In a fight inside the jail; on falling ill inside the jail; while being taken to court; while being taken to the hospital; during treatment in hospital; by showing false encounter; by pretending to commit suicide, by showing casualties in an accident…,” he wrote.

“All such doubtful cases should be investigated under the supervision of a Supreme Court judge. The way the government bypasses the judicial process and adopts other methods is completely illegal. A government that cannot protect life has no right to remain in power. Uttar Pradesh is going through the worst phase of ‘government anarchy’. This is ‘zero hour’ of law and order in UP,” he wrote.

SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said Mukhtar had earlier in a written submission in court expressed apprehension of his murder through poison. “When he had given in writing, an inquiry should have been done…,” Yadav said. “Everybody knows what the conspiracy is. It is not hidden from anyone,” he said, without elaborating.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi said that Mukhtar had made serious allegations against the administration that he was being poisoned. “Despite this, the government did not pay any attention to his treatment. Condemnable and regrettable,” he said.

BSP president Mayawati said the serious allegations made by Mukhtar’s family require a high-level investigation so that true facts come out.

Bhim Army founder and Aazad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) president Chandra Shekhar Aazad demanded a CBI investigation into the death.

Elected to the Assembly from Mau for the first time in 1996 on a BSP ticket, Mukhtar won the seat as an Independent in the next two Assembly polls in 2002 and 2007. He joined the BSP again ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The party fielded him from Varanasi where he lost to BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi. In April 2010, Mayawati expelled Mukhtar from the party, citing criminal activities.

Mukhtar then floated his own political outfit Quami Ekta Dal (QED) and was elected from Mau in 2012. In 2016, Akhilesh — the then chief minister — had opposed the merger of the QED with the SP as he did not want to be associated with the Mukhtar or his family.

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