An MP/MLA court in Rampur on Wednesday sentenced Azam Khan — a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former 10-time MLA from Rampur — as well as his wife Tanzeen Fatima, and their son Abdullah Azam Khan to seven years imprisonment each, after they were found guilty of illegally acquiring a fake birth certificate for Mr. Abdullah Azam Khan.
They were convicted under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), and 471 (using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]) of the Indian Penal Code.
The case dates back to 2019, when the complainant Akash Saxena (presently a BJP MLA) lodged a complaint alleging that Mr. Khan and Ms. Fatima through a conspiracy got two birth certificates made for their son. The first certificate claimed he was born in Rampur, while the other said he was born in Lucknow. They got the first one issued on June 28, 2012 from the Rampur municipality, while the second one was issued on January 21, 2015 by the Lucknow municipality.
Avalanche of cases
Mr. Khan, who is considered the SP’s Muslim face, has been convicted in four cases since October 2022. The first conviction led to his losing his membership in Uttar Pradesh’s Vidhan Sabha, leading to a by-election for the Rampur seat, which was won by Mr. Saxena, the complainant in the current case. However, on Mr. Khan’s appeal against that first conviction, the lower court’s judgement was overturned, and he was acquitted in May 2023.
Since the BJP came to power in U.P., more than six dozen cases have been registered against Mr. Khan on a range of charges, including cheating, land-grabbing, and criminal conspiracy.
The SP has stood in support of Mr. Khan; party president and Leader of Opposition in the U.P. Assembly Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the BJP is trying to intimidate a “section” of the society through these cases, hinting at the former 10-time MLA’s Muslim identity.
“The targeting of Honourable Azam Khan ji and his family is aimed at scaring a section of the society. The public is witnessing and understanding the game being played. Some selfish people do not want the people who promote education to remain active in the society. Many doors of justice are opened against this political conspiracy. Oppressors should remember, there is a public court against injustice,” Mr. Yadav posted on X (formerly Twitter).