Bringing to book Shahabuddin
It is in the fitness of things that the Supreme Court on Friday cancelled the bail granted to dreaded gangster and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Mohd Shahabuddin by the Patna High Court and directed the Bihar government to arrest and put him back in jail immediately. The apex court’s verdict is also an object lesson to the Bihar government with regard to allowing criminals to rule the roost. The Bihar government is clearly at fault for letting Shahabuddin come out of jail on bail in as many as 40 cases.
The bail he obtained on September 7 must have piqued the highest judicial authority, though not the State government, because the public prosecutor did not even oppose it citing Shahabuddin’s criminal antecedents. The apex court said the trial in the Rajiv Roshan murder case should be disposed of as early as possible. Saying it does not want to go into the merits of the case, the Bench had castigated the State for its 17-month delay in conducting the trial and almost zero interest it had shown in preventing Shahabuddin from getting bail in the High Court.
Ironically, Shahabuddin had argued that there was a “conscious delay” on the part of the State in conducting the trial, prompting him to seek bail! The bail was challenged by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons, including Rajiv Roshan, were done to death by Shahabuddin and his henchmen. Rajiv, a witness to the murder of his two brothers, was bumped off, after which Shahabuddin managed to obtain bail. The Supreme Court order came on separate pleas by the State and the slain brothers’ father, Chandrakeshwar Prasad, to cancel Shahabuddin's bail.
Shahbuddin’s plea that he had been made a punching bag and a victim of media trial is preposterous. A history-sheeter Type A in the Hussain Ganj Police Station at Siwan since 1986, he is a disgrace to society. A 2001 report by the People's Union for Civil Liberties states: “The patronage and de facto immunity from legal action offered to him by the RJD government gradually made him a law unto himself, giving him an aura of invincibility.
Since the police turned a blind eye to his criminal activities and allowed him to turn Siwan district into his fiefdom where his fiat ran... Shahabuddin's reign of terror was so complete that nobody dared depose against him in cases in which he was an accused.” No wonder, he had been an MLA four times and an MP twice. In April 2005, a police raid at his house yielded illegal arms such as AK-47s, and other military weaponry such as night-vision goggles and laser-guided guns, including those with the markings of Pakistan ordnance factories.
According to a former DGP of Bihar, Shahabuddin has ties with the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Such is the audacity of this criminal-turned-politician that even jail officials are mortally scared of him and the district judge who had sentenced Shahabuddin in the Rajiv Roshan murder case sought transfer from Siwan to Patna before the criminal’s release and is currently under police protection.