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India Legal show debates whether Nitish Kumar’s government is to be blamed for the RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin getting bail

By India Legal Bureau

On October 1, the Supreme Court set aside the bail order of RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin which was passed by the Patna High Court on September 7. An apex court bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy held that “the High Court was not justified in granting bail” to the gangster-turned-politician.

“The order passed by the High Court granting bail to the respondent-accused is set aside and the State is directed to take all consequential steps, inter alia, for taking him into custody forthwith,” said the Supreme Court order. Shahabuddin surrendered four hours later.

A plea was filed in the Supreme Court by Siwan-based Chandreshwar Prasad seeking the transfer of Shahabuddin to a jail outside Bihar and video conferencing of his trials. Prasad’s three sons were killed in two separate incidents, allegedly by Shahabuddin’s men.

The plea said that till the time Shahabuddin is in Bihar, “it is not only very difficult to have a fair trial in the pending cases but there is serious threat to the life of the petitioner as well as witnesses of other cases also”. It said that till date, Shahabuddin has been booked in at least 75 cases. “Out of the 10 convicted cases, he is facing life imprisonment in two cases and 10 years rigorous imprisonment in one case. Out of 45 pending cases, at least 21 cases are those where maximum life sentence is seven years and more which include nine cases for the charge of murder and four for attempt to murder,” the plea said. It also alleged that the convict had violated jail manuals with impunity in collusion with jail officials and had gone out of prison whenever he wanted to.

Nitish Kumar is the only chief minister in the country whom no one can point a finger at. Bihar was an underdeveloped state. If the credit for its development goes to anyone, it is Nitish Kumar.

—Subhash Pathak, JDU leader

The question that arises is how did Shahabuddin get bail from the Patna High Court? While supporters said it was no fault of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, the opposition took the opportunity to point fingers at his “good governance”.

In a talk show aired by Axis Press Network (APN), the television arm of ENC media group, JDU leader Subhash Pathak said: “If the court has given an order, it must be carried out. Nitish Kumar is the only chief minister in the country whom no one can point a finger at. Bihar was an underdeveloped state. If the credit for its development goes to anyone, it is Nitish Kumar.”

However, Congress spokesman Surendra Rajput said: “If anybody has done anything to stop criminalizing of politics, it is Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party.” To this Pathak said: “It is the result of an able government that the apex court passed such an order. Our government went to court, placed its position and hence, the court gave its order.”

Shahabuddin surrenders in court after his bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court. Photo: UNI
Shahabuddin surrenders in court after his bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court. Photo: UNI

However, BJP leader Amit Puri said the reality is different. “Many convicts have got bail and taken to politics after that. When they were working with the BJP, there was good governance. When they broke that tie and sided with the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD, those behind bars got bail and started ruling the state. My supporters will give a befitting reply to Nitish Kumar. Such criminalization of politics is continuing in Bihar without any hindrance.”

Supreme Court advocate Harish Pandey, however, said: “Since the bail was challenged in the apex court, the court did not appreciate the attitude of Nitish Kumar’s government. The government challenged the bail when the victim’s family had already filed a petition. In the bail petition of Shahabuddin, the charges were not available in the chargesheet which the judge had. They came afterwards. This is fishy. Though the government is saying it is because of its effort that the bail got cancelled, the decision came based on the victim’s petition mainly.”

GANGSTER-RULED STATES

Shahabuddin is not the only gangster-turned-politician in the country. The rule of strongmen has increased over the past five years in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand. In the 2012 UP Vidhan Sabha elections, 28 percent of BJP, 35 percent of Congress and 20 percent of Rashtriya Lok Dal’s candidates were from criminal backgrounds. Some 30-40 candidates in the UP Vidhan Sabha elections were convicted in one or more criminal offenses, while 15 percent of candidates from all political parties were charged with serious criminal offenses.

For example, Atique Ahmed, a four-time MLA from Allahabad, is convicted in 45 cases, including murder, kidnapping and loot. DP Yadav’s son Vikas Yadav is in Tihar Jail convicted for the Nitish Katara murder case. Vijay Mishra is convicted for an attempt to murder of former minister Nand Gopal Gupta. In Bihar, strongmen Pappu Yadav, Anand Mohan and Suraj Bhan too have influenced Bihar politics.

Criminality continues to rule politics in India.

Lead Picture: A TV grab of the India Legal show

Also read: Lalu Yadav And The Shahabuddin Game

 

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