The news is, former Siwan parlimentarian Mohammad Shahabuddin could enjoy some degree of ‘freedom’.But there is a big‘if ’.
Would his lawyers be able to convince the high court in a 2004 case, in which, he and his men were charged with giving an acid bath to two men, both brothers- Girish Raj and Satish Raj--who died scalded?.
Then, there is the other case involving the murder of Rajiv Roshan, the brother of the two above victims in 2014 also to deal with. The man who kept Siwan on a leash and in thrall-universally declared as a ‘saviour’ by his supporters and as a ‘don’ by his rivals, has some 50 cases to his name, including those of murder and abduction.
His clout sustained regimes and his political writ ran from Saran to the UP borders in the 1990s. Should he get bail in the two above cases, Sahab’ as he is called by his admirers, may breathe easier. Counsel for Shahabuddin, Abhay Kumar Rajan, is ‘confident’ and ‘very hopeful’ that ‘Sahab’ will get some relief.
He told HT that the matter pertaining to Roshan murder case is in the Patna high court, while the acid case is in the argument stage. Radheshyam Suman, superintendent of Siwan jail, in which Shahabuddin is lodged, said two courts of additional district judge (ADJ) and judicial magistrate run thrice a week in the prison premises to hear the several crime cases against the former MP, who was arrested in 2005.
“In the last 10 years, the former MP has been transferred twice outside Siwan, for a few months each time once to Bhagalpur jail and at another time--to Gaya jail,” he added upon complaints, including that his men were threatening witnesses. According to sources, judgment has been delivered in 12 cases, in which the ex-MP has been acquitted in four, while he has nearly completed his sentence in eight other cases.
“In 27 other cases, the trial is in various stages. If he gets bail in the acid attack case, that could pave the way for his release sooner or later,” his battery of lawyers added. Siwan SP Bikash Burman said, “Investigations are still on in Rajiv Roshan case of 2014. There still are a few important angles to be explored.”
He said, “There is some other evidence in the case, which need to be corroborated.” Shahabuddin was convicted for the first time in May 8, 2007 and handed down a life sentence on charges of abduction of a CPIML worker, Chhote Lal Gupta, in February 1999.
Gupta was never seen thereafter and was widely presumed to have been killed.His body also could never be recovered. People in Siwan speak in hushed terms of the former MP and prefer referring to him as ‘Sahab,’ such is the fear in some quarters, even today.
Shahabuddin was dreaded in many ways, more so, after he attacked a posse of police force led by then Siwan SP Sanjiv Kumar Singhal on August 30, 2007 and forcing it to flee. He faces a term of 10 years in the case.Fo r t h e re c o rd , this criminal turned politician started his political career in 1990, coinciding with the rise of Lalu Prasad and has been a four-time MP of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and a two-time MLA in the Bihar legislative assembly.
With the MP behind bars, Prasad had experimented by giving a ticket to his wife, Heena Shahhab for the second consecutive time, despite her loss in by a big margin in an earlier election. Shahabuddin, most notoriously, figured in the murder of for mer JNU president Chandrashekhar, who was shot dead in Siwan on March 31, 1997.
He may never be in the political arena again, but still retains influence among sections, though vastly diminished criminal career Shahabuddin came into limelight during his college days in the 1980s. The first criminal case against Shahabuddin was filed in 1986. Since then, his criminal most cases listed under Hussainganj police station in Siwan, where he is listed as a history sheeter type A (a hardened criminal).Type A is also taken to indicate criminals who are beyond reform.