PATNA: Barely five months ago, amid celebration in Siwan over the release of former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, there was one man completely crestfallen.
He was Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu, 79, the man who lost his three sons –all murdered allegedly at the behest of Shahabuddin, currently lodged in Siwan jail.
Though Shahabuddin was later sent back to jail following cancellation of his bail by the Supreme Court, Prasad’s trauma did not diminish a wee bit.
“My sons were murdered and now people say it could be my turn. Any day, you can find me, my wife and our only surviving son killed here,” he had said, demanding to shift Shahabuddin out of Siwan.
On Wednesday, Chanda Babu appeared relieved. “It is a big respite for people of Siwan. Witnesses will now be able to depose before the court without fear, which was not possible as long as he stayed in Siwan,” he said.
The enhanced security outside Chanda Babu’s house is a testimony that his apprehensions were not out of place. The administration has provided security on its own in view of the threat perception to him.
He said ever since the top court took up the matter, it is the first time that he had not received any threat. “I have full faith in the Supreme Court. I am also indebted to senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who felt my pain and fought for me,” he added.
Talking to HT, Chanda Babu said the ongoing trial in his son Rajiv Raushan’s murder case, two of the witnesses had turned hostile before the special court in Siwan due to the terror, which Shahabuddin represented.
Asha Ranjan, wife of slain Hindustan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan, was also happy with the SC order, saying: “It is important that Shahabuddin is shifted from Siwan, or else, we will never get justice. It is all because of the top court that we can expect justice,” she added.
Shahabuddin is the second RJD leader who will be shifted from Bihar to New Delhi’s high security Tihar jail and it is a coincidence that the top court’s order against both came in February. A bench of justices N Santosh Hegde and S B Sinha had on February 14, 2005 ordered shifting of Ajit Sarkar murder accused and then RJD MP from Purnia, Pappu Yadav.
The bench had then warned the Bihar officials not to “extend any special privileges” to Yadav during his shifting from Beur jail in Patna to Tihar and to scrupulously follow the jail manual. Shahabuddin can expect similar treatment.
Siwan breathes easy as Shahabuddin ‘shifts’