With the release of former RJD parliamentarian Mohammed Shahbuddin from jail, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes that ‘Jungle-Raj’ is back in Bihar and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar can do nothing, but be a mute spectator to it. Meanwhile, a BJP delegation is set to meet Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind today in relation to Shahbuddin’s release.
Shahabuddin was found guilty in 2004 for kidnapping of brothers Girish Raj and Satish Raj, giving them “an acid bath” and then murdering them. While Shahabuddin’s son Osama was charged for killing of a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Rajiv Roshan, who was a witness in the case.
Hitting out at BJP, CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat said, “The party ( BJP) has no moral right to question release of Shahabuddin as the main accused into the killings at Latehar district was granted bail within six months. The RJD leader has been in jail from past 11 years while the BJP managed bail for the accused within six months.”
Earlier BJP had termed Shahbuddin’s release as a “well planned strategy” of the Nitish Kumar government to ensure release of RJD strongman Shahabuddin from jail and said it would stage dharna across in Bihar on September 14 to protest against it.
In a recent turn of events, Shahbuddin’s convoy which was enroute to Siwan crossed a toll plaza at Muzaffarpur without paying any charges. Muzaffarpur toll plaza Assistant Manager Dipak Chaube said they had police orders to let more than 200 cars in Shahabuddin’s convoy pass without toll.
Shahabuddin was a criminal-turned-politician who at one time ran a virtual parallel administration in Siwan, settling family and land disputes, fixing doctors’ consultancy fees and presiding over even marital disputes. There are more than 30 criminal cases pending against him, which include eight of murder, 20 of attempted murder and kidnapping etc Besides these police-registered cases, many other were unreported, which include a large number of “disappearances” from Siwan. In May 2007, he was convicted of the abduction of the trader and CPI(ML) worker, Chhote Lal Gupta, in February 1999. He has been convicted in a number of other criminal cases, including a 10 years rigorous imprisonment for attempted murder on the then Superintendent of Police, SK Singhal, in 1996.