Mukhtar Ansari’s funeral is happening today, and he will be buried in his family graveyard in Uttar Pradesh.

The Ansaris have chosen Mohammadabad’s Kali Bagh family graveyard as the ultimate burial site for the former leader.

Today, amidst tight security measures in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, the funeral procession of Mukhtar Ansari, a former gangster turned politician, is set to take place. After the completion of the postmortem examination at Rani Durgavati Medical College in Banda district, Mr. Ansari’s body was transported to his hometown of Ghazipur, covering a 400-kilometer journey.

A convoy of 26 vehicles, including 24 police vehicles and the ambulance carrying Mr. Ansari’s body, traveled through districts such as Prayagraj, Bhadohi, Kaushambi, and Varanasi before reaching Ghazipur, where Mr. Ansari holds a complex legacy of both fear and reverence.

Accompanied by his sons Umar Ansari and Abbas Ansari, as well as the latter’s wife and two cousins, Mr. Ansari’s body made the journey inside the ambulance. The Uttar Pradesh government carefully planned the route, considering security concerns arising from Mr. Ansari’s notorious past and the sensitive nature of the situation.

The Ansaris have chosen Mohammadabad’s Kali Bagh family graveyard as the ultimate burial site for the former leader. In preparation for the funeral, significant security measures have been implemented in Ghazipur and its neighboring areas.

Family’s Allegations Regarding Mukhtar Ansari’s Death

Amid the stringent security measures, questions arise surrounding the circumstances of Mr. Ansari’s passing. His family contends that he was gradually poisoned during his time in custody. However, as per the news agency PTI, a postmortem examination conducted by a panel of five doctors at Rani Durgavati Medical College concluded that Ansari, aged 68, succumbed to a heart attack.

The family further asserts that they were not directly notified of his demise but rather learned about it through the media.

Mukhtar Ansari’s life was marred by numerous controversies and legal battles. In April 2023, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. Just this month, he was handed a life sentence for his involvement in acquiring an arms license through fraudulent means.

Criminal History of Mukhtar Ansari

Early Encounters with the Law:

Mukhtar Ansari’s entanglement with law enforcement began at the young age of 15. From that point forward, his criminal record grew significantly, accumulating a total of 65 cases filed against him, ranging from murder to extortion.

Political Ascent Amidst Controversies:

Despite his notorious reputation, Mukhtar Ansari delved into politics undeterred. He successfully won elections as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Uttar Pradesh on five separate occasions, representing different political parties. Despite his escalating criminal profile, Ansari maintained political influence, even establishing his own party, Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED), and securing electoral victories.

Legal Troubles and Ongoing Trials:

However, despite his political successes, Ansari’s criminal activities eventually caught up with him. He faced numerous convictions and remained entangled in ongoing legal proceedings across various courts.

Political Career and Criminal Influence:

As a five-time Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Mukhtar Ansari remained an active figure in politics for over two decades, commencing with his initial election bid in 1996 from Mau on a BSP ticket. Throughout his career, he was courted by both the BSP and the SP, leveraging his influence in organized crime in Purvanchal. Ansari followed the footsteps of earlier ‘bahubalis’ of Purvanchal like Harishankar Tiwari and Virendra Pratap Shahi, utilizing muscle power to profit from government contracts allocated to the underdeveloped region. His ambitions often clashed with rival criminal enterprises, notably that of Brijesh Singh in Ghazipur, as they competed for a share of tender business.

Criminal Record and Public Perception:

While Ansari garnered support from segments of the population for his charitable endeavors towards the poor and disadvantaged, his criminal history remained extensive. Over four decades, he faced over 60 cases, including 14 counts of murder. Authorities applied stringent measures such as the National Security Act in six cases and invoked the UP Gangsters Act in 24 instances. Despite his numerous legal entanglements, Ansari’s ability to intimidate witnesses ensured he remained unconvicted until 2022.

Notorious Crimes and Legal Consequences:

Among Ansari’s most infamous deeds were his involvement in the murders of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005 and Awdhesh Rai, the elder brother of Congress leader and current Congress chief of UP, Ajay Rai, in 1991. The former earned him the first of two life imprisonments, solidifying his notoriety in criminal circles.

The Downfall Over Seven Years

Targeted by Yogi Adityanath’s Administration:

Despite being incarcerated since 2005, Mukhtar Ansari faced intensified scrutiny when Yogi Adityanath assumed office as Chief Minister in 2017, with a determined agenda to cleanse the state of criminal elements. Ansari was identified as one of approximately 78 listed criminals, alongside notorious figures like Ateeq Ahmed, Vijay Mishra, and Anil Dujana.

Financial Backlash and Operational Setbacks:

The BJP-led government systematically dismantled Ansari’s financial infrastructure, crucial for sustaining his criminal operations. Confiscation of properties valued at over Rs 290 crore and liberation of assets worth another ₹283 crore from illegal possession dealt significant blows to his criminal empire. Additionally, law enforcement agencies eliminated key associates of his gang, including sharpshooter Ali Sher, recruiter Harikesh Yadav, and another assailant Rakesh Pandey, in encounters. Furthermore, action was initiated against 284 members of his gang.

Legal and Administrative Pressure:

In 2021, concerted efforts by the state administration led to Ansari’s transfer back to Uttar Pradesh from Punjab, where he had been imprisoned for two years. Administrative measures aimed at securing convictions against listed criminals, including enhanced witness protection, resulted in Ansari’s first-ever conviction in 2022. Subsequently, between 2022 and 2024, he faced convictions in eight cases, including two life imprisonments, effectively terminating his political career.

Political and Public Perception:

With the BJP portraying him as a symbol of state-sponsored mafia, opposition parties began to distance themselves from Ansari or refrain from openly supporting him. The cumulative effect of these developments signaled the downfall of Mukhtar Ansari’s political influence and criminal network.

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