The Delhi High Court today stayed for three days the custody parole granted to Uttar Pradesh legislator Mukhtar Ansari by a trial court for canvassing in the state legislative assembly polls which he is also contesting.
Justice Mukta Gupta passed the order, staying the custody parole till February 20, after the Election Commission (EC) moved the high court seeking cancellation of his parole on the ground that he may influence witnesses in the 2005 murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, in which he is facing trial.
The poll panel, which was represented by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, said the accused was a serious threat to the society and hence the trial court's order of yesterday granting him parole should be stayed immediately.
The EC's plea was opposed by senior advocate S S Gandhi, who said that the legislator was granted similar relief in past also.
Staying Ansari's release, the high court said it will
take up the matter on February 20, by when the accused should file his response to the poll panel's plea.
Ansari, who recently joined Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to contest from the Mau assembly constituency in UP, was granted custody parole till March 4, enabling him to campaign in the elections.
The accused, while seeking the relief, had told the trial court that he has been in judicial custody since December 2005 and was granted parole to contest polls earlier too.
Ansari, who has been elected from the Mau constituency for a record four times, had submitted that he had never misused the parole.
Meanwhile, the poll panel submitted before the high court that besides releasing him on parole, the trial court has also asked the authorities to provide him security along with the personnel carrying AK-47 rifles.
The panel also said it may create fear in the mind of the voters, if Ansari is allowed to roam like that.
The BSP welcomed jailed gangster-politician Ansari and his family after his Qaumi Ekta Dal merged with the party, ahead of crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The 2005 murder case was transferred from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by the Supreme Court in 2013 on a plea filed by Alka Rai, wife of Krishnanand Rai.
Ansari, who is presently lodged in Lucknow jail, had over 40 criminal cases against him, including murder and kidnapping.