A Varanasi court on Monday sentenced former Uttar Pradesh MLA Mukhtar Ansari to life imprisonment in a murder case from nearly 32 years ago, Bar and Bench reported.

The gangster-turned-politician was convicted for the murder of Awadhesh Rai, the brother of Congress leader Ajay Rai. Awadhesh Rai was shot dead on August 3, 1991, outside his home in Varanasi’s Lahurabir area.

Ansari has been in jail since 2005 after he surrendered to the police in connection with a communal riot that took place in the town of Mau. He is currently lodged at the Banda district jail.

Commenting on the verdict on Monday, Ajay Rai said that it was the end of the family’s 32-year struggle against a “notorious criminal”, PTI reported.

He added: “I, my parents, Awadhesh’s daughter and the whole family kept patience...Governments came and went and Mukhtar strengthened himself. But we did not give up. Because of our lawyers’ efforts, today the court has found Mukhtar guilty in the murder case of my brother.”

The Congress leader alleged that his family has been receiving threats and said that the state government should enhance their security. “If something happens to me, the BJP government will be responsible,” he said.

Other cases against Ansari

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Special Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar had said that 61 criminal cases are pending against Ansari.

On April 29, an Uttar Pradesh court convicted Ansari and his brother – former Bahujan Samaj Party MP Afzal Ansari – in a case filed under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act. While Mukhtar Ansari was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, the BSP MP was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

Following the verdict, Afzal Ansari was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.

In September, Mukhtar Ansari was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for threatening to kill a jailor and pointing a gun at him.