Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Science | By Guadalupe Butler

Supreme Court transfers RJD strongman Shahabuddin from Siwan jail to Tihar

Supreme Court transfers RJD strongman Shahabuddin from Siwan jail to Tihar

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered shifting of RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin to Delhi's Tihar prison from a Bihar jail in a week, in order to "safeguard the principle of fair trial".

The apex court referred to the criminal history of Shahabuddin and said "till today, he has been booked in 75 cases, out of which he had been convicted in 10 cases and presently facing trial in 45 cases" and the facts showed that "this is not a normal and usual case".

"Shahabuddin should remain in Tihar jail for life ... his very presence in Siwan, inside or outside the district jail, instils terror and trepidation in us and among people in general", Mr. Chanda Babu told The Hindu. Both said the accused continued to run a "parallel administration of fear" from the jail in Siwan.

Directing the Bihar government to transfer Shahabuddin to Tihar Jail, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy said it should be done in a week's time.

The court had also clubbed a similar petition of transferring the former RJD MP to Tihar jail filed by Chandrakeshwar Prasad whose two sons were killed by Shahabuddin in 2004 with Asha Ranjan's petition.

Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were allegedly murdered by Shahabuddin, and Asha Ranjan, whose journalist husband Rajdev Ranjan was allegedly murdered by associates of Shahabuddin, had moved the court.

It looks like the Siwan Jail will be a jailbird short soon.

"A fair trial is not what the accused wants in the name of fair trial".

Asha Ranjan had urged that Shahabuddin be shifted to Tihar to ensure a free and fair trial in the case. It takes in its ambit and sweep the right of the victim (s) and the society at large. The Bench kept the issue for April 21.

Her counsel had alleged in the court that in September a year ago, she had seen the pictures of accused Mohammed Kaif and Mohammad Javed, who were absconding at that time, with Tej Pratap on news channels. "An accused can not be permitted to jettison the basic fundamentals of trial in the name of fair trial", it noted.

It rejected Shahabuddin's plea that the court can not take away the fundamental right to fair trial of an accused by transferring him to a jail outside the state.

The bench in its order noted that in certain cases the Patna High Court had granted stay, and requested the High Court to dispose of the said matters within four months. He is now facing trial in the murder case of Prasad's third son who was a witness to his brothers' deaths. It has to be dealt with in the aforesaid factual matrix.

"After God, we have our hopes pinned on the apex court for justice", they said.

"Fair trial in criminal jurisprudence is not a one-way traffic, but includes the accused and the victim, and it is the duty of the court to weigh the balance", the Supreme Court held. "This verdict is in the best interest of free and fair trial". Of the 45 cases, 15 FIRs, including those of murder, were lodged against him while he was behind bars in Siwan jail. The top court had sent him back to jail on September 30, 2016, as it reversed a September 7, 2016, Patna High court order granting him bail.

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