Uttar Pradesh Police personnel arrived in Punjab’s Rupnagar district on Tuesday to bring back imprisoned gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is facing trial in many cases in the province.

The Uttar Pradesh Police said seven vehicles arrived at the Rupnagar Police Lines at about 4:30 a.m.

The Police Lines are approximately four kilometers from the Rupnagar prison, where Mukhtar Ansari has been detained since January 2019 in connection with an extortion case.

In a note, Punjab’s home department asked the Uttar Pradesh government to take his custody from the Rupnagar jail on or before April 8.

It had written to the Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (home) in response to a March 26 Supreme Court order directing the Punjab government to move Mukhtar Ansari from Rupnagar prison to UP’s Banda jail in two weeks.

On Monday morning, a 150-member Uttar Pradesh Police force, including a company of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, fitted with sophisticated firearms, set out from Banda to carry Mukhtar Ansari, the BSP’s Mau MLA, back from Punjab.

The top court noted in its order on March 26 that Mukhtar Ansari was reportedly involved in numerous cases of attempted murder, cheating, and conspiracy, in addition to offenses under the Gangsters Act, lodged in Uttar Pradesh, and that ten of these cases are at various stages of the trial.

The Punjab home department had directed the Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (home) to make appropriate arrangements for Ansari”s move in the note. “The said handover is to be made at Rupnagar District Jail on/before April 8,” the letter said.

It also mentioned that Mukhtar Ansari had some medical problems that should be considered when making preparations for his relocation.

The Supreme Court had ordered the Punjab government to turn over Mukhtar Ansari’s custody to the Uttar Pradesh police, claiming that it was being withheld on frivolous grounds under the pretext of medical problems.

It also said that a criminal or an under-trial inmate who violates the law of the land cannot object to his relocation from one jail to another and that courts should not be powerless spectators when the rule of law is being questioned with dispensation

Pramod Tiwari, Acting Superintendent of the Banda District Jail, confirmed that all arrangements have been made in Barrack Number-15 for Ansari and that no other prisoners are allowed to enter the area.

“Three prison guards will be stationed inside the barrack,” he said.

According to the Uttar Pradesh Police, Mukhtar Ansari is facing 52 cases in UP and elsewhere, 15 of which are in the trial stage.