SC to hear plea to cancel bail to Md Shahabuddin on Monday

Last Updated 16 September 2016, 14:09 IST

Supreme Court today agreed to hear on Monday a plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to convicted gangster-turned-RJD leader Md Shahabuddin by Patna High Court in a case pertaining to the killing of a youth in Siwan town of Bihar.

A few hours after the development, Bihar government too moved the apex court with its appeal against the High Court order, saying the state was not properly heard and the history-sheeter granted relief keeping all previous concerns of the court about security and safety of witnesses at bay.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar accepted the first plea for urgent hearing on September 19 after it was mentioned by advocate Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu of Siwan, whose three sons were murdered allegedly at the behest of the controversial politician.

Prasad, in his petition, said that Shahabuddin, a four- time Member of Parliament from Siwan, has been apparently booked in at least 58 criminal cases, of which in at least 8, he has been convicted and awarded life sentence in two of them and despite that he has been allowed to walk free out of jail.

Separately, Bihar government standing counsel Gopal Singh elaborated the grounds and said the High Court had failed to follow its own order of February asking the trial court to preferably complete the trial of the Rajiv Roshan murder case within nine months.

The state government also said the High Court ignored the crucial aspect brought by it earlier that key witnesses did not turn up to depose in these cases due to fear and the clout wielded by the dreaded gangster, who before pronouncement of judgement in the murder case of Prasad's two sons, allegedly conspired from the jail to eliminate his third son, Rajiv Roshan, the prime witness in the case.

The state government contended that the High Court overlooked the apex court judgement which had held as correct its decision to conduct the trial of cases against Shahabuddin from jail itself considering the threat to witnesses, the counsel said.

Singh said the High Court had neither properly heard the state, nor did it seek any report from it regarding the criminal trials pending against Shahabuddin before granting him relief.

In his plea, CXhandrakeshwar Prasad said the Patna High Court's September 7 order granting regular bail to Shahabuddin "suffers from total non-application of mind" as it had "completely lost sight of the facts that Respondent No 2 (Shahabuddin) is a dreaded criminal, who has absolutely no regard for the law, and granting bail to him would let him come out of the jail as a free man even though he is still facing trial in many of the cases lodged against him."

It said bail was granted in a case lodged against him and other persons including his son Osama for the murder of Rajiv Roshan in 2004.

"The deceased was an eye-witness in Siwan (Muffasil) PS. Case No. 131/04 relating to the ghastly killing of his two young brothers aged 23 and 18 years respectively by Shahabuddin who has already been convicted in the said twin murder case and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2015 by the trial court for the charge of abduction-cum- -murder," the plea filed by father of all three deceased said.

It said Shahabuddin, who has been four-time MP from Siwan, has been apparently booked in at least 58 criminal cases of which in at least 8 he has been convicted.

"Further, apparently till November, 2014, at least 27 trials before Magistrates and 11 trials before Sessions Courts were pending against him. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment in at least two cases including in the case of twin murder," the plea said.

It said the High Court had passed a cryptic order without taking note of relevant factors which should have been taken into consideration while dealing with the application for bail of a history-sheeter like Shahabuddin.

"The High Court, while granting bail, has unfortunately been influenced by the facts that Md. Sahabuddin has been shifted from Siwan to Bhagalpur Jail for six months, hence, the trial is not likely to commence in near future. The High Court, while recording the aforementioned facts, however did not consider the circumstances under which the said shifting order was issued," it said.

The plea further said that on May 13 this year, a journalist Rajdev Ranjan was killed in Siwan and it was alleged that Shahabuddin was behind his killing also.

"On May 18, 2016, a raid was conducted in Siwan Jail when reportedly 40 phones were seized. Some of the sim cards were found to be on fake names.

"It was found that regular visitors including important politicians were visiting Respondent No. 2 (Shahabuddin) inside the jail without any valid permission. Considering the influence of Respondent No. 2, demand was made for an independent investigation and thus, the investigation of the murder of the journalist was handed over to the CBI.

"Further, as it was found that Respondent No. 2, even while inside the Siwan jail, has been able to manipulate or influence activities outside jail, an order dated May 20, 2016 was issued by the State Government for transferring him from Siwan to Bhagalpur Jail for six months," the plea said.

It said "the efforts were being made to keep Respondent No. 2 away from Siwan even as a prisoner, but the impugned order passed by the High Court has completely nullified those efforts and instead, allowed him to go back to Siwan as a free man. The High Court failed to appreciate that the accused cannot be allowed to take advantage of his own misdeeds."

In August 2004, Girish, Satish and their eldest brother Rajiv Roshan, the three sons of the petitioner, were picked up by henchmen of the gangster and taken to his native village Pratappur, where they were drenched in acid.

Both Girish and Satish died but Rajiv, who witnessed the killings, managed to escape. However on June 16, 2014, the petitioner's third son, Rajiv Roshan was also murdered and Shahabuddin was arrested for this killing on November 17,2014.

Two days ago, wife of slain scribe Rajdev Ranjan had also moved apex court seeking transfer of the probe and trial in the murder case to Delhi from Siwan in Bihar, alleging that media reports have shown two absconding killers of her husband in the company of recently-released RJD leader Shahabuddin and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav.

She has sought reliefs including a direction to CBI, to which probe has been transferred, to take up the probe forthwith in view of the fact that the proclaimed offenders, Mohd Kaif and Mohd Javed, were spotted with Shahabuddin and the Minister at a place where several cops were also present.

(Published 16 September 2016, 14:09 IST)

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