CBI names Shahabuddin as accused in journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case
Ranjan, the regional bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, was shot dead by gunmen at a busy fruit market near the Siwan railway station on May 13 last year.
A special CBI court at Muzaffarpur, 71 km north of state capital, Patna, on Friday named senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin as the seventh accused in the Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case on Friday.
The CBI, meanwhile, has sought an eight -day remand of the ex- MP for his interrogation, sources said.
CBI lawyer AH Khan said the fact that Shahabuddin had been named as an accused meant that the probe agency, during its investigation, had gathered conclusive evidence of his role in the conspiracy to murder Ranjan .
CBI sources said the former MP could be interrogated in Tihar jail in New Delhi, where he is at present incarcerated. The evidence is of a larger conspiracy in which the MP is believed to have had a role.
Ranjan, then bureau chief of Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’, was gunned down on May 13 last year at Siwan and his wife Asha Ranjan later accused Shahabuddin of having a role in the killing.
Shahabuddin was produced in the court of designated CBI judge Anupam Kumari through video conferencing facility.
The special court had on May 22 issued the production warrant against four-time Siwan MP Shahabuddin on the plea of CBI to produce him through video conferencing for trial. CBI investigation officer Sunil Singh Rawat, a deputy superintendent of police rank official, had filed the application the same day for making Shahabuddin an accused in the case.
The RJD ex-MP’s name was mentioned as having a major role in the case by an accused, Mohammad Kaif, during his interrogation, in the context of the killing of Rajdeo Ranjan. Police had also investigated a series of writings of late Rajdeo in its attempt to corelate the murder
Defence lawyer Sharad Sinha said the special court named Shahabuddin as 7th accused in the case after finding that there was enough material evidence against the former MP.
CBI counsel AH Khan said the court order had paved the way for the premier probe agency to investigate charges against Shahabuddin.
The CBI officials initiated the investigation against the former MP after a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by Asha Ranjan. The top court had directed the CBI to probe the case, including the role of Shahabuddin, after hearing a petition of Asha Ranjan.
The Siwan police had earlier picked up five suspects in the case and recovered firearms. Based on their interrogation they pursued one Laddan Mian, who surrendered in court later. Shahabudin is the seventh to be named in the murder, CBI lawyer AH Khan said inPpatna
The CBI had already filed chargesheets against five accused persons in the case. Two others — Mohammad Kaif and Javed Bhatt alias Javed Mian have been granted bails by the court as the CBI failed to file formal chargesheets against them within the deadline of 90 days.
Shahabuddin is facing trial in more than 45 criminal cases and was moved to Tihar jail in February this year on a Supreme Court order on a plea by Siwan native Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were killed in two separate incidents, allegedly by the ex-MP and his cohorts.