Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan are “untraceable” and have been skipping court appearances, The Indian Express reported, citing police officials.
Rampur Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashok Kumar said that Azam had been asked to appear in the court on September 17, 19, and 23 in an alleged hate speech case from 2019. However, he has been skipping it saying he has undergone a heart surgery.
“There is a case in a local court against Azam Khan over an alleged 2019 hate speech. The trial is in its final stages and the verdict is expected soon. Azam skipped appearances on September 17, 19, and 23, saying he could not come since he had a heart surgery,” Kumar said.
The police official said that the court, then, formed a committee headed by the Chief Medical Officer to assess his fitness to ascertain whether or not he can be present at the court.
Azam Khan’s lawyer was asked to share the whereabouts of the SP leader, but the lawyer said he was not aware, the SP said.
Kumar added that it is now up to the court to decide and the police will follow suit.
On September 22, the father-son duo had returned their security cover provided by the state government saying that they did not need it. Three security personnel were provided to Azam Khan under the Y-category security.
A senior police officer said that they returned the security cover when they were at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi.
“When security personnel were sent to their residence, the two were not there,” he said.
Azam Khan was released from Sitapur jail earlier this year after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail. The SP leader is facing around 90 cases, including corruption and theft charges.
On Tuesday, he was booked under another case for allegedly stealing the cleaning machine of a municipality and using it for Mohammad Ali Jauhar University established by him. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for Khan, that the state has been taking several actions against the private university at Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur.
A top court bench led by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and J B Pardiwala have agreed to hear the case on Thursday.
Meanwhile, last Friday, a Samajwadi Party delegation-led by party president Akhilesh Yadav met Governor Anandiben Patel to draw her attention to the “continued harassment” of Azam Khan by the ruling BJP government in the state-led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The delegation of party MLAs apprised the Governor “about the continued injustice being done with Azam Khan and fake cases being lodged against him”.
“We told her that the government is continuously lodging fake cases against him (Azam Khan) so that he remains in jail. He is ill and has health problems. He was down with COVID-19 and had to remain in jail. It was our request to the governor that there should not be any injustice with Khan,” Yadav was quoted saying by PTI.
On Wednesday, during the ongoing session of the state Legislative Assembly, SP members alleged that Khan had been implicated in “false” cases, and had created a ruckus in the House due to which the Question Hour was washed out in both the Houses.