New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to criminal-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin on a plea challenging grant of bail to him in a murder case by the Patna High Court earlier this month.
The bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy also issued notice on a plea seeking stay of the Patna High Court’s September 7 order for bail.
Asking the Bihar government to serve notice on him, the bench directed the next hearing on the matter for the coming Monday (September 26).
The court order came on a plea by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were allegedly killed by Shahabuddin’s henchmen, and that of the Bihar government challenging the High Court order.
The Bihar government had also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant against Shahabuddin. However, this was not accepted by the bench.
At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked lawyer Prashant Bhushan if he was seeking the cancellation of the bail or challenging the order granting bail and what were the parameters.
Bhushan, appeared for Prasad whose two sons were killed in 2004 and third son Rajiv Roshan – who was the sole witness to the killings of his two brothers – too was killed by Shahabuddin’s henchmen in 2014.
The high court had granted bail to Shahabuddin on the grounds that in Rajiv Roshan murder case, he was jail since 2014 and there was no progress in the trial of the case.
Even though Shahabuddin was already in jail in the twin murder case, but in Rajiv Roshan case, the Siwan strongman was shown as arrested on November 27, 2014.
Giving details about the notoriety of Shahabuddin, Bhushan told the bench that he was a hardened criminal with no scope of his being reformed and was involved in 58 cases of which in at least 8, he has been convicted. In two cases, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 years jail in another case.
Questioning the high court granting bail, Bhushan told the court that the order was “contrary to all the principles laid down by this court” for the grant of bail in such cases.
He read out extracts from 2014 order of the top court wherein while acknowledging that he was in jail for ten years, yet it did not grant Shahabuddin bail.
Telling the court that Shahabuddin should have been lodged in a jail outside Bihar, Bhushan said that the high court should have, instead of granting bail, said that his trial would take place through video conferencing from Bhagalpur jail.
What makes the murder of Rajiv Roshan a serious issue is because he was the crucial witness in the earlier murder of his two younger brothers, Bhushan said that the release of Shahabuddin has unleashed a fear among all the witnesses in all the cases against the criminal-turned-politician.
Appearing for Bihar government, advocate Gopal Singh said that the murder of Rajiv Roshan becomes a serious issue because he was a prime witness and he was killed just before he was to depose second time before the trial court in the twin murder of his brothers.
Seeking the immediate stay of the bail and its eventual cancellation, Prasad in his petition has said that if the bail to Shahabuddin was not stayed “irreparable injury is going to cause to the interest of the present trial as well as other pending cases”.
Pointing out that there was a “serious threat” to his life and that of his family members, he has told the court that “earlier also it has been seen that witnesses are too scared to depose against him and turn hostile”.