2 witnesses declared hostile in case against Mukhtar Ansari

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Two businessmen, called as prosecution witnesses in the MCOCA and extortion case against former BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari and Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi among others, retracted their statements before a sessions court on Friday.

Varanasi residents Devender Pratap Singh and Hemant Dass were declared hostile witnesses by Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao after the duo told the court that the had never seen any of the accused and had never faced any threats or extortion demands from them. The two also denied making any statements to the police under Section 161 of the CrPC.

The ASJ also heard arguments on a bail application filed by Ansari's lawyer I U Khan, who argued that since the former MLA has already been in custody for over two and a half years, he should be released on bail.

"The maximum punishment under Section 3 of MCOCA charges against the accused is five years, and my client has already spent more than half of that in jail," said Khan, adding that since four of the five public witnesses against Ansari had been declared hostile, there was "no case against him". The court will hear further arguments on the bail application from the prosecution on November 30.

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