Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saved his face today as the Supreme Court canceled the bail granted to convicted Siwan strongman and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Mohammad Shahabuddin by the Patna High Court.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saved his face today as the Supreme Court canceled the bail granted to convicted Siwan strongman and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Mohammad Shahabuddin by the Patna High Court. Shahabuddin is facing criminal charges in over 50 cases. The Supreme Court ordered the Bihar government to put Shahabuddin back in jail.
Soon after the apex court order, Shahabuddin himself surrendered. Talking to reporters, the dreaded gangster-turned-politician said, “I am a law-abiding citizen. I have always respected the court. The moment the news of the cancellation of my bail appeared on TV, I offered namaz (prayer) and came to surrender.”
He refused to comment on the SC order. “I can’t comment on the judiciary’s decision.” When asked about his political future and comments on Nitish Kumar, Shahabuddin didn’t take name but issued an indirect threat to Nitish Kumar’s political future. “My supporters will make everyone know what will happen in the next elections.”
The Supreme Court had earlier come down heavily on Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar for not placing facts before the Patna High Court which granted bail to Shahabuddin in a murder case. The apex court had asked the state government if it was in slumber till he got bail.
Earlier, advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons had been killed in two separate incidents, has sought cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail. Bhushan had said that letting him off on bail was “travesty of justice”. Bhushan had told the SC bench headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh that Shahabuddin would be a grave threat to the society if his bail was not cancelled.
Meanwhile, Shekhar Naphade, representing Shahabuddin, had opposed the appeals challenging the grant of bail and said right to life and liberty should not be curtailed in normal circumstances.
The SC on September 19 had issued a notice to Shahabuddin while hearing pleas of the Bihar Government and Chandrakeshwar Prasad against the bail granted to him. The Bihar Government had earlier filed an appeal before the apex court, challenging the Patna High Court’s order of granting bail to Shahabuddin.
The Opposition parties had accused the state government of not taking up Shahabuddin’s case in the Patna High Court seriously. Nitish Kumar had also faced a major embarrassed when soon after getting out of jail, Shahabuddin said the Janata Dal (United) chief was a “circumstantial chief minister”. People across the state feared that Shahabuddin’s release would bring the haunting ‘Jungle Raj’ of past back.
As per the affidavit filed by Bihar government in 2014 in another case of Shahabuddin, the gangster-turned-politician had 58 criminal cases pending against him and out of them he was convicted in eight cases. In two of the cases, he was awarded life sentence by a trial court.
Shahabuddin was granted bail recently by the Patna HC in the murder case of Rajiv Roshan, Prasad’s son who was the sole eye-witness to the cold-blooded murder of his two younger brothers in Siwan.
The RJD leader has already been convicted and awarded life imprisonment in the twin murder case, while the trial in the Roshan murder case is yet to commence.
(Withh agency inputs)