The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred the hearing of the plea regarding shifting of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) strongman Shahabuddin from the Siwan jail in Bihar to Tihar Central Jail in the national capital till Thursday. The plea was filed by the victims’ families and stated that free and fair trial against Shahabuddin was not possible if he remained in the Bihar jail as witnesses would not be able to depose against the controversial leader with his goons threatening them. Shahabuddin is facing trial in 45 criminal cases.
The counsel of Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were murdered at the behest of the RJD leader, today told the apex court that how influential the accused was that he committed offenses even when he was in the jail. Another petitioner, slain journalist Rajdeo Ranjan’s widow Asha Ranjan, had filed a plea in the apex court seeking to shift Shahabuddin from the Siwan to the Tihar jail so that witnesses in her husband’s murder case could not be influenced and also sought the safety and security of her family members.
A division bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and also comprising Justice Amitava Roy will take up the matter at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Forty-two-year-old Ranjan, the bureau chief of The Hindustan, was shot dead in July this year at Phal Mandi near the Siwan railway station, barely half-a-kilometer from the police station. The Bihar Government had recommended the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) to probe the case.
The case came into limelight again after a photograph appeared in the media showing murder suspects Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed with gangster-politician Mohammed Shahabuddin after his release from jail. Kaif, however, later rubbished all accusations against him and said he has no involvement in Rajdeo’s murder case. Meanwhile a separate petition filed by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons had been murdered at the behest of the RJD leader.
Shahabuddin, who had been in jail for more than 10 years in connection with multiple cases, was granted bail by the Patna High Court on September 7 in connection with the murder of a man who witnessed the killing of two brothers in Siwan.