Lucknow News : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches at multiple premises linked to jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, 59, in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in connection with a money laundering case registered against Ansari and his brother, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Afzal Ansari in July last year, people familiar with the matter said.
The searches are being carried out at multiple locations in UP’s Ghazipur, Lucknow and Mau as well as Delhi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), an ED official said.
The official said Ansari’s family house in Ghazipur’s Mohammadabad was also searched. BSP MP Afzal Ansari’s house in Lucknow’s Dalibagh locality, and a building owned by Mukhtar’s associates Hussainganj, were also searched. In Mau, ED officials also raided the premises of his three business associates including a bus operator of Mau.
A senior ED official said the case was based on three cases registered against Ansari in Mau and Lucknow. Ansari was questioned in Banda jail in November 2021 in this context; his brother Afzal Ansari in May this year.
The searches were conducted following investigations by ED during the past year when it joined the UP government’s efforts to bring down Ansari’s criminal empire.
The Yogi Adityanath government earlier said it has demolished or attached assets linked to Mukhar Ansari worth about ₹250 crore. In June last year, the UP administration attached property worth ₹24 crore besides large parcels of land in Mau on charges that he was in their illegal possession.
Ansari, a former member of the state assembly from Mau, faces trial in at least a dozen criminal cases. At one point, authorities said he had nearly 50 criminal cases registered against him including the 2005 murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai. He has been acquitted in many cases including Rai’s murder.
In June this year, the Banda administration suspended a deputy jailor who tried to obstruct a jail inspection that eventually led to the discovery of items “not mentioned in the jail manual” in his cell.
In 2019, he was arrested by the Punjab Police in connection with an extortion case and spent more than two years in a Ropar jail where he was allegedly given special treatment. Mukhtar Ansari was brought back to Banda jail only in 2021 after the UP Police approached the Supreme Court and got a clear directive on his transfer.