The Supreme Court today mulled shifting RJD strongman Mohd. Shahabuddin, facing trial in 45 criminal cases, from Siwan jail in Bihar to Tihar Central Jail in the national capital saying it is test case for the “concept of fair trial and witness protection”.
“This is a case which gives a test for criminal jurisprudence on the concept of fair trial and witness protection,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said while also favouring all the pending criminal cases in Bihar to Delhi.
The bench adjourned the hearing for tomorrow and asked the advocates to come prepared on the point of transfer of cases and accused to Delhi from Siwan.
At the outset, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade appearing for Shahabuddin said the petition filed by wife of a journalist who was killed in May has sought his transfer out of the jail in Siwan. He said that the plea is an interested litigation and is politically motivated and just because their are allegations he should not be transferred.
To this the bench said that for the concept of fair trial he can be transferred out of Siwan jail. Naphade said it will be unfair on his part as he will loose the visitation rights. “We are not saying you do not have any visitation rights but we have to weigh a balance somewhere,” the bench said. The senior lawyer then said that there are no allegation against him and the only allegation is that police was not acting against me.
“There are only allegations and not a single one is against me. Let CBI investigate whether I was in custody on May 13 when the alleged murder of a journalist took place. Just I am declared hardened criminal and a victim of media trial, I cannot be allowed to move out of Siwan jail,” Naphade said.
Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha appearing for CBI filed its status report in the court and said that it will welcome if the cases are transfered to Delhi. The bench asked the counsel appearing for Bihar government as how many cases are pending against Shahabuddin to which he said that 44 cases are pending in the state while one case is pending is neighbouring Jharkhand against him.