Statements of three witnesses recorded in the court

MAU: Don-turned-Independent MLA from Mau in Uttar Pradesh Mukhtar Ansari and 31 others on Tuesday appeared before the district court in connection with the Mau communal riots case.

District and Sessions Judge S K Tripathi posted the case for hearing on June 16.

Meanwhile, the statements of three witnesses were recorded in the court.

Taking serious cognizance of the absence of two doctors, who were supposed to record their statements, the court issued a directive to the chief medical officer in this regard.

So far, 18 witnesses in the case have already turned hostile.

On May 20, the court had fixed charges against the 33 accused in the case. The charges pertained to murder and attempt to murder during the communal riots, which had rocked Mau on October 14, 2005 during a `Bharat Milap' ceremony.

The MLA along with his elder brother and Samajwadi party MP Afzal Ansari and brother-in-law Ejaz are also prime accused in the assassination of Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai.

Rai, an MLA from Mohammadabad Assembly constituency in Ghazipur district, and his seven supporters were shot dead in broad daylight in Ghazipur on November 29 last year.

They were ambushed near the Ballia-Ghazipur border by several motorcycle-borne miscreants armed with sophisticated weapons.

Later, an FIR was lodged against 10 people including Mukhtar, Afzal and notorious east U.P. gangster Munna Bajrangi in connection with the killing.

Afzal surrendered in the court on December 8. The Ansari brothers and Ejaz are presently lodged in Ghazipur district prison.