Who was jailed 'Bahubali' gangster Mukhtar Ansari?

Mukhtar Ansari, a prominent figure in Uttar Pradesh political circles despite his criminal background, passed away from cardiac arrest at a Banda hospital on Thursday. Born into a prominent family in 1963, he delved into crime to establish dominance in the government contract mafia prevalent in the state. Despite numerous convictions and ongoing trials, he made a notable entry into politics. Ansari was a five-time MLA from Mau constituency. His death marks the end of a controversial and influential political career.

READ MORE: Jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari dies after being admitted to hospital

Who was Mukhtar Ansari?

From politician to convicted gangster:

His involvement in criminal activities started early, dating back to 1978 when Ansari, aged only 15, faced charges of criminal intimidation at Saidpur Police Station in Ghazipur. Nearly a decade later in 1986, he gained notoriety within the contract mafia, facing another murder charge at Muhammad Police Station in Ghazipur. Despite accumulating 14 more serious criminal cases over the next decade, Ansari’s criminal background didn’t deter his political ambitions. He was elected as an MLA in the UP assembly in 1996 under the Bahujan Samaj Party ticket from Mau, continuing his political career as an independent candidate in subsequent elections, until his passing in 2022, during which he served time in various jails across UP and Punjab.

Mukhtar Ansari family background

He came from a notable lineage, as his paternal grandfather, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, served as an early president of the Indian National Congress, and his maternal grandfather, Mohammad Usman, held the rank of Brigadier in the Indian Army.

A convicted gangster and politician from Uttar Pradesh, Mukhtar Ansari had been elected as MLA from the Mau constituency five times, including twice as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate. He was the relative of former Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari. In April 2023, Mukhtar Ansari was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai by an MP MLA court. He was sentenced to life in prison on March 13, 2024, in connection with a fake arms license case.

How did he die?

Jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari on Thursday died after suffering a heart attack. He was brought from Banda jail to the medical college for treatment in Banda after his health deteriorated. This is the second time within two days that he was taken to the hospital. Earlier, Ansari was on Tuesday hospitalised for around 14 hours in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda after he complained of abdominal pain.

Political Career:

The gangster-turned-politician was once a heavyweight leader in the political circle in Uttar Pradesh. Ansari, 60, is a five-time former MLA from Mau Sadar seat and has been behind bars in UP and Punjab since 2005.

Mukhtar Ansari started his political career in the early 1990s as a student union leader at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and entered the Uttar Pradesh Assembly for the first time in 1996 after winning the assembly election from Mau constituency on Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s ticket. He won the record five times the Mau seat from 1996 to 2022.

Legacy and Controversies:

For some people, Mukhtar Ansari was like Robin Hood. He had control over contracts, mining, scrap, liquor, and railway contracts. With his power, he had established his reign. But if this Robin Hood used to loot the rich, he also distributed among the poor. People in Mau say that Mukhtar Ansari not only had a reputation for being a bully but also did a lot of work in his area as an MLA. This Robin Hood with a robust mustache may have settled in today’s world, but in Mau and its surrounding areas, Mukhtar Ansari’s name echoed. He remained a member of the UP Legislative Assembly for 24 years continuously.

Legal Battles and Government Crackdown:

The Yogi government had tightened the noose on Mukhtar Ansari in Uttar Pradesh where he faced 52 cases. The UP government’s attempt was to quickly get Mukhtar sentenced in 15 cases. So far, the Yogi government has either destroyed or seized assets worth crores of Mukhtar and his gang.

Illegal and benami properties of Mukhtar’s gang are being continuously identified. Nearly 100 accused of Mukhtar Ansari’s gang have been arrested so far, with action taken against gangsters in 75 cases under the Gangster Act. Overall, Mukhtar Ansari was the target of the Yogi government.

Mukhtar Ansari’s death marks the end of a controversial and influential political career that was marred by criminal activities and legal battles. His legacy, though tarnished, leaves a significant impact on Uttar Pradesh politics, especially in the Mau region where he was a prominent figure for decades.

William Murphy

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