The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday searched about a dozen locations linked to the jailed former Uttar Pradesh MLA Mukhtar Ansari and his close aides in connection with a money laundering case.
The searches were carried out in the Dali Bagh area of Lucknow and more than six places in the Ghazipur and Mau districts of Uttar Pradesh. The official residence of Lok Sabha Member Afzal Ansari, the former MLA’s elder brother, was also searched in Delhi. In May, the ED had recorded his statement.
Multiple sources in Lucknow, who are privy to the development, said the raids were conducted to gather evidence in the ongoing probe against Mukhtar Ansari under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The premises of his three business associates, apart from those of his family members, were also searched.
The ED action comes days after the local administration, following an order from the Ghazipur District Magistrate Mangala Prasad Singh, seized two plots of land – one in the Fatehullapur locality of Nandganj measuring 1.507 hectare and another in Ghazipur Sadar’s Rajdepur measuring 0.394 hectare. The combined worth of the land parcels, which are registered in the name of Mukhtar Ansari’s wife Afsa Ansari is over ₹6 crore, and is alleged to have been bought through illegal earnings.
The principal Opposition in the State, the Samajwadi Party termed the raids “selective targeting”. “Those who are associated with the ruling party or are members of the Chief Minister’s community have not been raided by the ED. Mr. Ansari is in jail for more than 15 years, but his family members are not a mafia. Targeting his entire family shows the vendetta politics of the ruling dispensation,” said Ameeque Jamei, the SP national spokesperson.
The five-time former MLA faces over 40 criminal cases, which include the charges of murder, extortion and land grabbing. Last month, the Ghazipur district administration and the police had attached properties worth over ₹14 crore linked to his elder brother.