New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh MLA Mukhtar Ansari and his three associates were on Thursday acquitted by a Delhi court of charges of allegedly running an organised crime syndicate for undue pecuniary benefits.
Additional Sessions Judge Chandra Shekhar absolved 57-year-old Ansari, an independent legislator from Mau and an accused in the 2005 murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, his alleged accomplices Prem Prakash alias Munna Bajrangi, Iftekhar Ahmed and Meraz Ahmed of the charges under section 3 (4) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for being a member of an organised crime syndicate.
The court while pronouncing the judgement said the four accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence against them and a weak prosecution case.
A case was lodged against Ansari and three others by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in 2009 under the provisions of MCOCA and they were later arrested. The court had on 3 May, 2012 framed charges against the four persons under MCOCA.
Ansari, who was represented by advocate Deepak Sharma, and the other accused had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
Bajrangi, currently lodged in Jhansi jail, was also charged for running an organised crime, with the court noting that the offences did not result in any deaths. Iftikhar and Meraz Ahmed were charged for conspiring or attempting to commit or advocating, abetting and knowingly facilitating the commission of organised crimes by Bajrangi.
Bajrangi was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in October 2009 for threatening a South Delhi businessman Ashok Tebriwal to extort money.
His accomplice Iftekhar and Meraz were arrested in November, 2009 and MCOCA was invoked against them after the police said they were running an organised crime syndicate.
Bajrangi, Iftekhar and Meraz were, however, acquitted by a magisterial court in 2012 in the extortion case under the IPC while the case under MCOCA was on before the ASJ.
Police had arrested Bajrangi and others from Mumbai, claiming they had intercepted a telephonic conversation that revealed a conspiracy to extort money from Tebriwal. It had claimed that callers were associates of Bajrangi who had called up Tebriwal demanding Rs one crore.
Following this, the police had also lodged an FIR against Ansari, who was said to be close to Bajrangi, after it claimed to have found that he was also a part of the organised crime syndicate and was arrested in May 2010.
The prosecutor had earlier told the court that all the four have been involved in various cases of extortion, threatening in Delhi, UP and Maharashtra. They also face prosecution for allegedly murdering BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.