The Lucknow administration on Thursday tore down a twin three storey building allegedly built by jailed BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari. On Friday, another slaughterhouse in Mau believed to be connected to Ansari’s gang was razed amidst a heavy police show.
The move was aimed at sending a strong message of “intolerance towards land mafias” and to promote a feeling of security among citizens, the government said.
Over the last few months, the government has punched a hole of more than Rs 100 crore in Ansari’s coffers of “illegal” wealth, arrested 97 of his gang members and cancelled 72 arms licenses of aides.
Properties of gangster and former MP Atiq Ahmed worth Rs 60 crore were attached this week. In Ghazipur, “cheating mafia” Parasnath Kushwaha’s property worth more than Rs 12 crore was attached on Friday.
“We want to break the financial backbone of these criminals. Though they are in jail, they are running their empires from inside. Thus, all sources of ill-gotten wealth, as well as property that it has been channeled into, will be targeted,” Prashant Kumar, the additional director general of police (law & order), told ET.
A BJP leader said the UP government is trying to break the politician-criminal combine in a state where criminals use their clout to get elected and then use their political might and privileges to commit crimes.
Critics of the government, however, see it as a “diversionary tactic”, with some hinting that the government was targeting a particular community.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Udayveer Singh said his party was more concerned about the law and order situation in UP and would continue to raise it.
“Will these steps reduce the rampant crime in UP – the kidnappings, murders, and rapes? If the UP government has to achieve something, it should reduce the crime rate and give relief to the people,” Singh said, adding that the action against politician-criminals was a diversionary tactic
Another opposition leader in the state, on the condition of anonymity, asked why only the likes of Azam Khan, Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed were being targeted. “Is it a message to one community that their powerful leaders, who are MPs and MLAs, are not safe as well,” this leader asked.
The UP government had earlier razed many properties purportedly connected to MP Azam Khan in Rampur.
UP police however say gangsters across the spectrum are being acted against. Earlier this month, Rakesh Pandey, a co-accused with Ansari in the murder of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai in 2005 was killed by the UP Special Task Force in an “encounter” that his son alleged was fake.