The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from controversial RJD leader Shahabuddin on a plea challenging the bail granted to him by the Patna High Court in a murder case.
The apex court, however, did not grant any interim stay on operation of Patna High Court’s bail order and said “We intend to give him [Shahabuddin] a hearing also. List it on Monday”.
The bench comprising justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy asked Bihar government to serve its notice on Shahabuddin and fixed the matter for hearing on 26 September.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad whose three sons have been killed in two separate incidents, said Shahabuddin is a “notorious criminal” and his reign of terror is in Bihar “in general” and Siwan “in particular“.
“There are 58 criminal cases pending against Shahabuddin and out of them he has been convicted in eight cases,” he said.
Shahabuddin had been granted bail recently by the High Court in the murder case of Rajiv Roshan, son of Mr. Prasad and the sole eye-witness to the cold-blooded murder of his two younger brothers in Siwan.
The RJD leader had already been convicted in the twin murder case and the trial in the Roshan murder case is yet to commence.
The Patna High Court, in its bail order, considered the fact that the trial in Roshan murder case could not begin as Shahabuddin was jailed at Bhagalpur prison and enlarged him on bail.
During the hearing, the apex court asked Mr. Bhushan as to whether he was seeking cancellation of bail granted to Shahabuddin or he was challenging the Patna High Court order.
“I am challenging the Patna High Court order granting him bail,” Mr. Bhushan replied and referred to various case laws to highlight the point that criminal antecedent of an offender should be considered while granting the bail.
Terming Shahabuddin as a “class—A history sheeter who cannot be reformed”, the lawyer said that High Court should not have granted bail to the leader.
The apex court had on 16 September agreed to hear the plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to gangster-turned-RJD leader Shahabuddin.
Bihar government standing counsel Gopal Singh had earlier said the High Court had failed to follow its own order of February asking the trial court to preferably complete the trial in the Roshan murder case within nine months.
The state government had also said that HC 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 Mr. Prasad’s two sons, allegedly conspired from the jail to eliminate his third son, Rajiv Roshan, the prime witness in the case.
It had 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.
In his plea, Mr. Prasad has said the 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.”
The plea further said that on 13 May this year, journalist Rajdev Ranjan was killed in Siwan and it was alleged that Shahabuddin was behind his killing also.
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 Roshan, who witnessed the killings, managed to escape. However on 16 June, 2014, Roshan was also allegedly murdered and Shahabuddin was arrested for this killing on 17 November, 2014.
Slain scribe Rajdev Ranjan’s wife had also moved apex court seeking transfer of the probe and trial in the murder case to Delhi from Siwan, alleging that media reports have shown two absconding killers of her husband in the company of Shahabuddin and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav.
She has sought relief 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.
(With PTI inputs)