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Punjab Govt to recover money spent on UP don Ansari from ex-CM Amarinder, says Mann

Punjab Govt to recover money spent on UP don Ansari from ex-CM Amarinder, says Bhagwant Mann

Sticking to his stance of not footing the legal bills for UP gangster Mukhtar Ansari, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that state shall not pay for ‘friends’ of the former Congress government.

Taking to Twitter, Mann said that the state government would recover Rs 55 lakh, the fee for fighting Ansari’s case in the Supreme Court from then Congress CM Captain Amarinder Singh and then Jail minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. He further added that in case of non-payment, their pension and other government benefits will be cancelled.

“This is a serious crime against the state and its people and those involved will have to pay for it. For reasons best known to them, Captain and Randhawa extended benefits to notorious gangster for his comfortable stays in Punjab jails. Why should taxpayers pay for a gangster just because he was on good terms with the government then”, said Mann in a statement.

Ansari is currently lodged in a UP jail serving a life sentence in the 32-year-old Awadesh Narain murder case. Congress leader and brother of former MLA Ajay Rai, Awadhesh Rai, was shot dead outside Ajay’s house in Varanasi on August 3, 1991.

An amount of Rs 55 lakh is to be paid to senior lawyer Dushyant Dave for opposing the UP government’s plea in the Supreme Court seeking custody of Ansari during Amarinder Singh’s regime.

Ansari was in Ropar Jail from January 2019 to April 2021 during the tenure of the previous Congress government. A recent inquiry report indicted some jail officials for extending ‘VIP facilities’ to Ansari in jail. It was alleged earlier that Ansari had connections with some state and national Congress leaders. He was brought to Punjab in January 2019, on a transit remand from UP. The UP government sent 25 reminders to Punjab before getting Ansari’s custody through the apex court. The AAP government had after an inquiry in the matter refused to foot the bill of Rs 55 lakhs for legal aid to Ansari and Mann returned the file concerning the clearance.

“UP’s gangster was kept in Ropar Jail by facilitating him with all possible needs. He was not presented in court even after having warrants issued against him 48 times. Expensive lawyers were hired with expenditure of Rs 55 lakh, but I have returned the file regarding clearing this expense from the money collected through people’s taxes,” Mann had tweeted in April this year.

Former chief minister and now a BJP leader Captain Amarinder Singh, while reacting to Mann’s statement in April, had taken a dig at him and asked the AAP leader to understand the system before speaking on the matter.

“Mann has just spent nine months in office while I was at the helm for over nine years,” Singh said, suggesting that he had more experience than Mann when it came to running a government. “Whenever any police investigation takes place, somebody who is in Tihar or any other jail, the investigating officer has every right to call for that man to come for investigation. If he has committed any crime in Punjab… then he is brought on transit remand,” the former CM had said.