The Supreme Court will on Monday take up petitions filed by Bihar government and an old couple whose three sons were allegedly murdered by Siwan RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin.
The top court had on September 19 asked Shahabuddin to respond to two petitions --- one each filed by Bihar government and the victims’ father --- challenging a Patna High Court order granting him bail in a murder case.
The victims’ mother too has filed a petition seeking cancellation of Shahabuddin’s bail.
A bench of Justice PC Ghose and Justice AK Roy had on September 19 declined to grant an interim stay on the operation of the HC order and said it will give Shahabuddin a hearing before issuing directions. “Let him also respond to your stay application,” the bench had said, fixing September 26 to hear the matter.
There is also another petition filed by the wife of a journalist allegedly killed at the behest of Shahabuddin for transferring the case outside Bihar. But this case is not listed for Monday.
Bihar government counsel Gopal Singh had on September 19 urged the court to issue non-bailable warrant against Shahabuddin and demanded his presence on the next hearing in the court. But, the bench restrained from passing any such order. It told Singh: “We intend to give him (Shahabuddin) a hearing also.”
Singh was critical of the HC judge who ruled in Shahabuddin’s favour and argued the same judge had in February this year rejected his bail petition. “Under the law and SC judgement he should have examined the fresh plea on merits,” Singh submitted before the bench.
Appearing for Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons have been allegedly murdered by Shahabuddin, advocate Prashant Bhushan said the former RJD parliamentarian is a known “notorious criminal” and it was shocking to see the casual manner in which the HC granted him bail.
“There are 58 criminal cases pending against Shahabuddin and out of them he has been convicted in eight cases,” he said.
The RJD leader was released on bail on September 9 after 11 in prison. The high court gave him bail in the murder case of Rajiv Roshan, Prasad’s son and the sole eye-witness to the cold-blooded murder of his two younger brothers in Siwan in 2004. Prasad was killed in 2014, while Shahabuddin has been declared guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2004 twin murder case.
The reasoning given by the HC was that the trial in Roshan murder case had not begun and was unlikely to commence because Shahabuddin was lodged in Bhagalpur jail.
Terming Shahabuddin as a “class-A history sheeter who cannot be reformed,” Bhushan read out old SC judgements to highlight how the high court had ignored the fact that criminal antecedent of an offender should be considered while granting bail.
Singh said the Roshan murder case was not a routine incident but was the killing of a “star eye-witness” to a gruesome crime. Bhushan said enlargement of Shahabuddin on bail had spread fear among those who are witnesses in the cases pending against him. “He should be ideally lodged outside Bihar,” the counsel had said.