Tainted MLAs may get spl facilities in UP jails

In a state where jails are like “second home” for politicians, the desire to have special facilities while they are in prisons would certainly not surprise any one.

The newly elected legislators of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly want the government to provide special facilities to them when they are sent to jail until charges against them were not proved and they were not sentenced by the court.

The legislators also want the government to make sure that such (jailed) MLAs were not kept in a prison far away from their respective Assembly constituencies. “They should be kept in prisons closer to their areas,” the MLAs demanded.

The demand was made in the Assembly by the members on Wednesday. Congress member Pramod Tewari said many of the legislators, who were arrested on different charges and sent to jail, were later acquitted by courts. “The legislators, until they are proved guilty and sentenced by courts, should not be treated like criminals,” he said.

Minister for Prisons Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, who himself had been in jail in connection with various criminal cases during the previous regime, agreed with the demand and said the government would consider it.

To start with, he said he would be taking up the case of don-turned-politician and jailed MLA Mukhtar Ansari. Ansari, an MLA from Mau Assembly constituency, is lodged in Agra jail, which is quite far from his area.

Interestingly, the present Assembly also comprises members having criminal antecedents. As many as 189 newly elected legislators, constituting 47 per cent of the House, which has a total strength of 403, have criminal cases pending against them. Of them, 98 are facing criminal cases of serious nature, according to a report of the UP Election Watch.

Almost half of the newly-elected Samajwadi Party legislators are facing criminal charges. The figure for the BSP stands at 29, while there are 25 “tainted” MLAs in the BJP. Criminal cases are pending against 13 Congress legislators as well, the report said.

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