The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a Patna High Court order granting bail to former RJD MP Mohd. Shahabuddin in a murder case, saying it prefers to first hear the case in detail before deciding whether or not to deny him personal liberty.
Even as Bihar said it wanted a non-bailable warrant to be issued against Shahabuddin, a Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy preferred to strictly follow procedure.
On the petition filed by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were allegedly killed by Shahabuddin’s henchmen a decade ago, the Bench sought a response from the Bihar government and Shahabuddin within a week. The same deadline was granted to the former MP to reply to a separate petition filed by the State against him.
“Let us issue notice now. We will hear the matter in detail,” Justice Ghose told advocates Prashant Bhushan and Rohit Singh, appearing for Mr. Prasad, and the Bihar government counsel.
“There is fear among the people who have been victims of his crimes in various cases,” Mr. Bhushan submitted.
He submitted that Shahabuddin was released on bail in a case of murder of Mr. Prasad’s third son, who was the “star witness” in the murders of his two brothers earlier.
“He [Shahabuddin] should not even be in Bihar. He should be outside and the trial should be conducted via video conference,” Mr. Bhushan argued.
“We get your point,” Justice Roy remarked.
The Bihar government counsel submitted how the Supreme Court had on an earlier occasion refused to grant bail to Shahabuddin despite the fact that he had spent 10 years in jail.
The Nitish Kumar government, who shares power in the State with RJD, challenged the September 7 bail order on the ground of a six-month delay in Shahabuddin’s trial due to his having been shifted from his hometown’s Siwan Jail to Bhagalpur Jail.
Mr. Prasad contended that the charges against Shahabuddin include murder, attempt to murder, and kidnapping or abducting with intent to murder, extortion, theft, rioting with deadly weapons and treason.
These two petitions – from the State and Mr. Prasad – follows another by Asha Ranjan, the widow of murdered journalist Rajdev Ranjan, for a CBI probe into how two proclaimed offenders, alleged to be her husband’s killers, were spotted in the media in the company of Mr.Shahabuddin and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav.