The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav for reportedly sheltering two persons accused of murdering a journalist.
Hearing a plea by slain journalist Rajdeo Ranjan’s wife Asha Ranjan for the transfer of trial in the case to Delhi, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan directed the Bihar Police to provide protection to the petitioner and her family.
“Sometimes, situations are created by certain powerful protagonists, which instill fear in the mind of a citizen, and that fear has the potentiality to usher in atrophy to the sense of dignity,” the bench said, directing the police to ensure that “the lady in distress” is protected.
The court also asked the CBI, which has taken over the investigation, to file a status report by October 17, the next date of hearing, before finalising the probe.
Appearing for the victim, advocate Kislay Pandey submitted that Asha, the mother of two minor children, was living under constant fear in Siwan as the Bihar Police did not name the RJD leader in the FIR despite a complaint by her.
Two accused — Mohd Kaif, who later surrendered, and Mohd Javed — were seen in the company of Shahabuddin after his release from jail on September 7. Tej Pratap, son of RJD chief Lalu Yadav, was also photographed with the accused in some media reports, he submitted.
The court directed the Bihar home secretary to serve notice to Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap seeking their response within two weeks. The state government was also asked to file a reply to the petition within two weeks.
The scribe was shot dead on May 13 in Siwan town by some sharpshooters, reportedly at the behest of Shahabuddin, who was jailed. A separate bench will on Monday hear a plea challenging the bail to the gangster-turned-politician.