Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said all the cases against his party colleague and Rampur MP Azam Khan will be dropped if the party is voted back to power. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he would meet Governor Anandiben Patel about the “false cases against the MP” and apprise her of the harassment faced by Khan, The Indian Express reported.

“I am taking back copies of all FIRs against Azam with me to Lucknow,” Yadav said at a press conference in Rampur. “We have full faith in the courts and we will get justice. Similarly, several cases had been lodged against Mulayam Singh ji. Then, the courts had helped us.” Yadav said his relationship with Khan was “that of family and not of politics”.

The Samajwadi Party chief said the public was losing faith in the government. He alleged Khan’s family was being taken to the police station and humiliated because of the alleged fake cases. The government was harassing Khan to divert attention from actual problems, Yadav added.

The former chief minister praised Khan for establishing the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur. “Today, education has become very expensive and this university will help the youth from and around Rampur to get quality education,” PTI quoted Yadav as saying.

The police raided Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in July after a first information alleging more than 9,000 books had been stolen from a local college and taken to the varsity. Khan’s son, Abdullah Azam, was detained for allegedly obstructing police officials during the raid.

Akhilesh Yadav also alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government was redirecting funds to foreign countries. “The defence Budget, which was meant for defence corridor, is going to foreign countries through Apache and Rafale,” he said. “Make in India cannot be seen anywhere.”

He accused the saffron party of steering the country towards fear and hatred, and highlighted the vandalism of statues of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar in Jalaun and Mahatma Gandhi in Saharanpur.

Union minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar said Yadav was “indulging in unrestrained gossip against the government” and said his difficulties were going to increase.

“Azam Khan’s sympathisers would have perhaps forgotten that during his tenure as a UP minister, he had punished an officer in Bareilly by asking him to squat and hold his ears,” Gangwar told reporters in Bareilly. “Rampur is our neighbouring district,” he added. “Who else better than us would know about Azam’s misdeeds?”

BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said Yadav should side with the farmers whose land Khan allegedly snatched. “During the tenure of the SP government, Khan usurped land of farmers and also exploited the people of Rampur,” The Indian Express quoted Tripathi as saying. “Today, those people are filing cases against Azam for all the exploitative measures.”

In August, the Enforcement Directorate registered a money-laundering case against Khan in connection with the land-grabbing cases in Rampur. The case was registered under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, after the directorate took cognisance of at least 26 first information reports filed by the police against the Samajwadi Party leader.

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