The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari in a money laundering case after he was produced before a court in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.
Ansari, a five-time former MLA, has been lodged in a jail at Banda in Uttar Pradesh for the last few years in connection with criminal cases being probed by the State police.
The 59-year-old was questioned by the ED in this case last year.
Ansari was taken into custody by the ED under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he was produced on Wednesday before a local court in Prayagraj on the basis of a production warrant moved by the agency, according to official sources.
Ansari’s MLA son Abbas Ansari was also arrested by the federal probe agency in November after questioning at its sub zonal office in Prayagraj. This was followed by the arrest of Mukhtar Ansari’s brother-in-law Atif Raza.
The agency has also got issued a look out circular against Mukhtar Ansari's wife Afsan Ansari as she has not deposed before it after issuance of summons.
The money laundering case against Mukhtar Ansari stems from multiple FIRs lodged by the Uttar Pradesh Police apart from two more FIRs lodged against a company called Vikas Constructions (a partnership firm) that was run by his wife, two brother-in-laws (including Atif Raza) and others.
Mukhtar Ansari is under the ED scanner in connection with at least 49 criminal cases booked against him including those on charges of land grabbing, murder and extortion. Ansari faces trial in Uttar Pradesh in several cases, including attempt to murder and murder.
Earlier this year, the agency attached seven immovable assets of Mukhtar Ansari worth ₹1.48 crore (registry value).
The agency in August had also raided the official residence of Mukhtar Ansari's elder brother and BSP MP Afzal Ansari in Delhi and some locations in Ghazipur district, Mau and state capital Lucknow.
The Ghazipur district administration had seized two plots of land, measuring 1.901 hectares and valued at over ₹6 crore, that were purchased using alleged illegal earnings of Mukhtar Ansari, according to police.
In July, the Uttar Pradesh Police attached Afzal Ansari's assets worth ₹14.90 crore under the Gangster Act.