Hearing in Afzal Ansari case continues.

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Rajesh Pandey

The Allahabad High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of a criminal appeal filed by member of parliament from Ghazipur , Afzal Ansari challenging his conviction and four years’ sentence in a gangsters Act case by a trial court of Ghazipur. This case under the gangsters’ Act case was imposed on Afzal following the killing of BJP MLA Krishna Nand Rai in the year 2005.

Since the order was not uploaded in the website of high court at the time of filing of this report, the next date of hearing in this criminal appeal was not confirmed. However, according to Afzal’s cousel, Upendra Upadhay, the case is likely to be listed in the next week.

The verdict of this criminal appeal can influence Afzal’s candidature from Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat where he is in fray as a Samajwadi Party candidate. If the high court upholds the trial court verdict, Afzal will be disqualified from contesting elections. Ghazipur goes to poll on June 1.

After hearing the parties, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh directed to adjourn this case for further hearing.

Along with this present criminal appeal, this court is also hearing connected UP government’s appeal seeking enhancement of sentence of Afzal in the same case and criminal revision filed by Piyusha Rai, son of Krishnanand Rai, also seeking enhancement of sentence.

An MP-MLA court of Ghazipur had on April 29, 2023, convicted Afzal and sentenced him to four years jail and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh in the Gangsters’ Act case. His younger brother Mukhtar Ansari too was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the case.

Following this, Afzal was disqualified as an MP. Thereafter, he filed the present criminal appeal before the high court.

On July 24, 2023, the high court had granted bail to the five-time MLA and two-time MP but declined to stay his conviction in the case. As a result, though Afzal was released from jail, his membership of Parliament was not restored. Further, he also became disqualified to contest future polls as the sentence awarded was more than two years.

 However, later the Supreme Court stayed his conviction, as a result, his membership of Parliament was restored, and he also became eligible to contest the Lok Sabha election. However, the apex court directed to expedite the hearing of this criminal appeal pending before the high court and asked it to decide the case by June 30.

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