SC seeks RJD leader Shahabuddin's response on pleas for shifting to Tihar

New Delhi: On Monday the Supreme Court sought responses from controversial RJD leader Shahabuddin, sent back to jail by the apex court, and Bihar government as to why he should not be shifted out of the state and kept in Tihar Jail in Delhi from where trial in over 45 cases can be conducted through video conferencing.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy granted four weeks to Shahabuddin and Bihar government to respond to two separate pleas filed by Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu whose three sons were killed in two incidents and Asha Ranjan, wife of slain journalist Rajdev Ranjan.

Rejecting Shahabuddin's plea for grant of more time to file his response, the bench said "the concept of fair trial is not one-sided. You should be fair to other side also."

Senior advocate Dushayant Dave, appearing for one of the petitioners, said Shahabuddin should give an undertaking that he would "not commit any crime" during his stay in Siwan jail.

 SC seeks RJD leader Shahabuddins response on pleas for shifting to Tihar

A file photo of Mohammed Shahabuddin. PTI

The counsel for Shahabuddin vehemently opposed the plea and said that adequate time be given to him for filing reply. Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Chandrakeshwar Prasad, said trials in over 45 cases against Shahabuddin have been stayed after he filed an application that he has no money and be provided legal aid.

Against this, Bihar government went in appeal in the Patna High Court and consequently, the proceedings were stayed. This is bizarre, Bhushan said.

The lawyers also including Kislay Panday, appearing for the widow of the slain scribe, referred to a previous apex court order by which another Bihar muscle-man politician, Pappu Yadav alias Rajesh Ranjan, was shifted out of Bihar and kept in Tihar Jail in Delhi from where trial proceeded through video conferencing.

Shahabuddin's bail was cancelled by the apex court last week setting aside the Patna High Court order granting him bail in a murder case, saying the discretion to release him must be applied in "judicious manner" and "not as a matter of course".

Chanda Babu, whose three sons were killed in two separate incidents, alleged in his plea that Shahabuddin's "confinement to the prisons of Bihar has failed to deter him in any manner as he has been abusing the rules and regulations of jail with impunity in collusion with the jail administrations".

"The Petitioner is an eye witness to the murder of his third son who has also got killed by Respondent No. 3 (Shahabuddin) as he was an eye-witness to the murder of his two brothers. The trial in the murder of third son is still pending," the plea said.

Prasad was also the petitioner on whose petition the apex court had cancelled the bail of Shahabuddin. His plea was also supported by Bihar government which had filed separate plea against the Patna High Court order granting bail.

The other plea, filed by Asha Ranjan, has sought the transfer of the RJD leader to the Delhi jail.

Earlier, the court had transferred the murder probe in the case of Rajdev Ranjan to CBI and asked it to conclude the investigation in three months.

Ranjan, 42, a senior journalist working with a vernacular daily, was shot dead on the evening of July 22 in Siwan town in Bihar.

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Updated Date: Oct 24, 2016 19:21:47 IST