Ram Jethmalani to defend Shahabuddin in SC

Patna, Sep 22 (IANS) Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani is set to represent criminal-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin in the Supreme Court on September 26 after the apex court on Monday issued notice to former RJD MP on a plea challenging grant of bail to him in a murder case.

“Jethmalani has accepted Shahabuddin’s request to appear in the Supreme Court on his behalf. Jethmalani is likely to file ‘wakalatnama’ on Saturday to argue in the apex court for Shahabuddin,” a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader close to Shahabuddin said here on Thursday.

Jethmalani is a Rajya Sabha member of the RJD from Bihar and is considered close to RJD chief Lalu Prasad. The RJD is a partner in the ruling coalition in the state.

Lalu’s younger son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav told media that he was not aware that party MP Jethmalani is to argue for Shahabuddin in the apex court.

According to party leaders, Shahabuddin received the Supreme Court notice on Tuesday at his native village Pratappur in Siwan district, where he has been staying since September 10 when he was released from the Bhagalpur Central Jail after 11 years.

The bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy on Monday also issued notice on a plea that sought to put on hold the execution of the Patna High Court order granting bail to Shahabuddin.

The court order came on a plea of Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were allegedly killed by a henchman of Shahabuddin, and that of the Bihar government challenging the high court order granting bail.

The Bihar government had also sought issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant against Shahabuddin.

Earlier, Shahabuddin said he is ready to go back to jail if the apex court ordered it. He refused to comment on the apex court order which did not grant an interim stay on his bail.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and respect the court order. Earlier, I was sent to jail by the court and ten days ago I was released from jail after the court granted me bail. It is all for the court to decide,” Shahabuddin told the media in Siwan.

Opposition BJP has appealed to Jethmalani, who was earlier parliament member of that party, not to defend Shahabuddin in the apex court.

–IANS

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