Case against cop who took on Mulayam Yadav, don Mukhtar Ansari, withdrawn.
New Delhi: When the Chandauli-born Shailendra Singh cleared his examination for the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police in 1991, his father who was also a DSP in the Uttar Pradesh police, was elated. He passed away a contented man in 1994, after witnessing his son don the same police uniform that he had worn all his life.
But fate had something else in store for Singh, who resigned from the force in February 2003, after spending less than 8 years in the same organization where his father spent his entire life.
Singh, who was known for his habit of “standing-up” despite knowing that his action will lead to problems for him and his family, served in Janupur, Banaras, Barabanki, Lucknow before finally landing at the coveted Special Task Force (STF) which was tasked with tackling organized crime that was at its peak in the state during the late 1990s and 2000. Every region of Uttar Pradesh at that time was unofficially divided into “don-zones” just like police-zones. And every such zone had a prominent mafia which ruled that particular zone.
Singh’s life turned on his head after a shootout happened between the supporters of BJP MLA from Mohammadabad, Krishnannand Rai and independent MLA from Mau, Mukhtar Ansari that took place under the jurisdiction of Cantt police station Lucknow in December 2003.
The entire political and police administration under Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, that had become accustomed to gang-wars taking place in other parts of UP, but never reaching the state capital, were jolted out of their slumber and the STF was asked to ensure that criminal dons are reminded of the lesson that their rivalries were to be settled outside Lucknow least it leads to collateral damage of the kith and kin of the leaders and IAS officers who stayed in Lucknow.
This shootout lead to an unprecedented pressure on the state police, particularly the STF, which was also allowed to put on surveillance numbers of known dons, that included Mukhar Ansari and his close relatives, including his brother and Samajwadi party MP from Ghazipur, Afzal Ansari. The phone-tapping produced immediate result and Shailendra Singh, who was heading the STF team deputed at Varanasi, which was still known as Banaras, intercepted a call between Mukhtar Ansari “closing a deal” to buy a Light Machine Gun that is used exclusively by the Indian Army from an army deserter of Rashtriya Rifles for a princely sum of Rs 1 crore.Mukhtar Ansari desperately wanted the gun to eliminate Rai who had defeated his brother Afzal in the last Assembly election. Rai’s increasing clout, political, money and muscle was something that the Ansari brothers had become wary of and hence wanted to eliminate him at all cost. However, Rai traveled in bullet-proof Sumo and was accompanied by atleast 5-6 men who would always carry weapons. Hence Ansari, who had been on a lookout for a better weapon than the pistols, country made sten guns and double barrels that his men carried to take out Rai, immediately jumped at the prospect of getting his hands on a LMG that could fire 500 bullets in a minute.
Singh, however, arrested the two people who were supposed to sale the LMG to Ansari along with the weapon and bullets on the night of 24-25 January 2004 from a house that was under the jurisdiction of Choubeypur police station.
The next day, he invoked the stringent Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) against Ansari that was passed by the Vajpayee government in 2002 to curb terrorism. And that sounded the “death-knell” of his career. Ansari, who was accustomed to being booked under “harmless” sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), immediately rushed to the then CM Yadav, as Shailendra Singh recalled while speaking to The Sunday Guardian and pleaded with him to instruct the UP police to remove the provisions of POTA from the FIR that was lodged against him. Phone calls were made from the CM house situated at the Kalidas Marg, Lucknow, and every senior police officer concerned was asked to heed to the order of ensuring the removal of POTA from the FIR. The calls reached Singh too, who refused to remove the POTA provisions from the FIR. Within hours, the same officer who was getting congratulations from his seniors for averting a “big-security” risk was now being pressurized to follow the oral orders of the CM. Singh refused.
“So much pressure was put on me that I resigned from service on 11 February 2004 as I found it unacceptable to work under seniors who were bowing down to a mafia don like Ansari who had even attacked our own men in the past. My ordeal did not end there.I was not allowed to take a rented accommodation as wherever I would go with my family, the house owner would get a call not to allow me. I was then put in prison and a false case of vandalism lodged against me in 2004 while I was protesting against the then DM of Varanasi for not being in his office during ‘jan-sunwai’. Due to the case, I could not get any job, passport as my police verification would show that I was an accused in a criminal case. The case went on for 17 years and it has now been withdrawn by the Yogi Adityanath government on 6 March,” the 52-year-old Singh recalled. Singh now runs an oragnic farming establishment and has also patented a device that generates electricity by simply using Ox as the kinetic energy provider.
Less than two years after Singh’s resignation, Rai, alongwith six of his supporters, was gunned down at a field at 3 pm in Baswania village, Bhavarkaul police station, Ghazipur, almost 100 km from Varanasi on 29 November 2005 while going to attend a marriage function.
According to a senior Lucknow based IPS officer, the step taken by the Adityanath government to ensure justice for Singh, has led to a generation of a lot of goodwill for the CM and encouraged the police officials, specially the mid-level officers, not to shy away from taking on the remaining mafia syndicate in the state. “There is a lot of positive talk in our WhatsApp groups about this decision of the present government. All are happy, as finally some sort of justice has been delivered to one of our fellow officer,” the officer said.