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What is the 88th case against Azam Khan that could extend his stay in Sitapur jail

Supreme Court is set to hear Azam Khan’s bail plea on 11 May in connection with the last of 87 cases filed against him by the UP Police until recently.

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Lucknow: Samajwadi Party MLA Azam Khan (73) is unlikely to walk out of jail anytime soon even if granted bail in the last of 87 cases slapped against him by the Uttar Pradesh police.

The veteran SP leader, lodged at the Sitapur jail for the past 26 months, is now facing fresh charges of submitting a forged building certificate to obtain recognition for the Rampur Public School of which he is the chairman.

“During investigation, Azam’s name came to fore and his name was added to the FIR as an accused. More sections have been added in the case and a warrant was issued against him by an MP-MLA court Friday,” Rampur Kotwali police station SHO Gajendra Tyagi told ThePrint.

“The warrant has been delivered to him in jail. Now, he will not be released even if he gets bail in the case being heard by the High Court. For him to be released, he would need a bail in this case too,” Tyagi added.

Khan’s PRO Fasahat Ali Khan confirmed to ThePrint that an FIR has been filed against the ten-time legislator in this case, but did not wish to comment further.

Azam Khan had moved the Supreme Court earlier this month after the Allahabad HC reserved its verdict on his bail application. The apex court is set to hear his plea on 11 May.

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Latest case against Azam Khan

In March 2020, a complaint was lodged against unknown persons by the block education officer of Rampur’s Saidnagar block for using forged documents to obtain recognition for the Rampur Public School, which was established in 2015.

The school, run by Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust of which Khan is the Chancellor, is situated in a posh locality in Rampur on land owned by the UP Sunni Waqf Board.

Land for the school — designated for the construction of a yateem khana (orphanage) — was transferred to the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust in 2016, during Azam Khan’s tenure as UP Waqf minister, Rampur-based social activist and AAP leader Faisal Lala told ThePrint. Families staying there were forcefully evicted, Lala added.

According to reports, nearly 50 houses were demolished to make way for the school after dwellers failed to comply with eviction notices issued to them by the UP Sunni Waqf Board. Khan’s detractors say the houses were owned by Ghosi Muslims, mostly shepherds, who paid rent to the UP Waqf Board until 2015.

It was in 2020 that the state education department of the Yogi Adityanath government launched an inquiry into the recognition process of the school, which is currently under-construction. Now Azam Khan and earlier, his wife Tanzeem Fatma, were named as accused in the case.

In this case, Azam Khan has been booked under Sections 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (whoever fraudulently uses as genuine any document or electronic record) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

SC to hear Azam Khan’s bail plea

Khan is lodged at the Sitapur jail in connection with a 2015 land grabbing case related to 86 bighas and 2 biswas of Enemy Property.

The HC had reserved its order on Khan’s bail plea in this case registered against him in 2019.

Farmaan Ahmed Naqvi, the lawyer for Zameer Naqvi – complainant in this case – told ThePrint that the high court termed the process of hearing exhaustive arguments by both sides a “herculean task”.

“The court seemed to be in no mood to adjourn the case. Hopefully, the judgement will be delivered soon,” Naqvi said.

While hearing Azam Khan’s bail application in this case on 6 May, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court termed the delay on the part of the Allahabad HC in delivering an order a “travesty of justice”.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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