Hearing in Afzal Ansari case to continue:


The Allahabad High Court will continue to hear on Wednesday (May 22) a criminal appeal filed by Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari challenging his conviction and sentence in a Gangsters’ Act case by a trial court of Ghazipur.


The verdict can influence Afzal’s candidature from Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat where he is in fray as a Samajwadi Party candidate. If the HC upholds the trial court verdict, Afzal will be disqualified from contesting elections. Ghazipur goes to poll on June 1. This case was imposed on Afzal following the killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.


Today (on Tuesday, May 22), the counsels representing Afzal Ansari, senior advocate GS Chaturvedi and Upendra Upadhya argued that there were total seven accused in Krishna Nand Rai murder case but only three including Afzal Ansari, his brother Mukhtar and another were selectively booked under the Gangsters’ Act, who were politically active. Secondly, they have been acquitted in Krishna Nand Rai murder case. “Once they have been acquitted in main case, they cannot be convicted in subsequently imposed Gangsters’ Act case. Besides, the witnesses are same in both cases”, added Afzal’s counsels.


After hearing appellant’s counsel, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh directed to continue hearing of this criminal appeal on Wednesday (May 22). Now the court will hear the arguments advanced by the team of state government’s counsels. Along with this present criminal appeal, this court is also hearing connected UP govt’s appeal seeking enhancement of sentence of Afzal in the same case and criminal revision filed by Piyush 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 HC 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 SC 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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