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Delhi HC asks Shahabuddin to meet family in national capital

New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) Soon after the Delhi and Bihar government seemed to be in conflict over who would provide assurance of security to former RJD leader and parliamentarian Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is in jail and wanted to visit Siwan from Delhi's Tihar Jail, the Delhi High Court asked the gangster turned politician to call his family to the national capital to meet him.

Updated Nov 03, 2020 17:39 PM

Delhi HC asks Shahabuddin to meet family in national capital

The suggestion came in from a single judge bench of the high court comprising Anup J Bhambhani, who was hearing through video conferencing a plea filed by Shahabuddin, who is serving life sentence in a murder case, seeking custody parole to go to Siwan in Bihar.

The proposed visit was on the ground that his father had passed away on September 19 and he wished to spend time with his grieving mother, who is unwell, and family members and to offer prayers at the grave of his late father.

During the course of hearing, the counsels for Delhi and Bihar governments addressed the court on the requirements and logistics needed for ensuring the safety of Shahabuddin, even if he was to be granted custody parole.

Advocate Sanjay Lau, who was representing the Delhi government, submitted before the court that the Delhi Police cannot be held responsible of the petitioner in Bihar.

Lau said that the police here would face difficulty as in order to provide security to Shahabuddin, a whole battalion will be required to go with him.

"During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the train services are also not running properly," Lau claimed.

Meanwhile, advocate Keshav Mohan, while putting forth the stand of the Bihar Police, said that the petitioner is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, which should ensure his security if he is released on custody parole.

He also said that he will file a fresh affidavit explaining the arrangements required to be made if the relief is granted.

Following these contradictory submissions, the bench observed that it can consider the option of granting custody parole to the prisoner in a situation like bereavement in family but the issue is that none of the two police forces could present surety on providing security to him.

"Both the Bihar and Delhi governments are not able to give me surety that they will be able to guard you (Shahabuddin)," the bench said.

"The element of threat is the same whether you go for six hours in custody parole or more. Why can't your family come to Delhi and meet you? You will be given a separate place in Delhi where you can meet your family," the court said.

It added that if the court considers granting him custody parole, it will be not for travelling to Bihar and he can choose a place in Delhi to meet his family.

After the court's observations and suggestions, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that he will consider the alternative option after the Bihar government would state in an affidavit that it would not be able to look after him or protect him.

Shahabuddin was declared a history-sheeter Type A, or one who is beyond reform. He had been a member of the legislative Assembly on two occasions and an MP from Siwan four times. The apex court on February 15, 2018 had ordered shifting of Shahabuddin, now facing trial in over three dozen criminal cases, from Siwan Jail to Tihar.

On October 30 last year, the apex court had upheld the conviction and sentence of Shahabuddin and three others in a 2004 double murder case in which two brothers were killed for not paying extortion money.

Satish and Girish Roshan were murdered in August 2004 in Siwan for refusing to pay extortion money. A third brother, Rajiv Roshan, who was an eyewitness to the incident in which Shahabuddin's men allegedly threw acid to kill the two brothers, was shot dead on June 6, 2014.

Roshan was killed when he was going to depose against Shahabuddin in the trial court despite threats from the don and his henchmen.

On December 9, 2015, a special judge in Siwan had convicted Shahabuddin and his associates for the murders and sentenced them to life imprisonment. On August 30, 2018, the Patna High Court had upheld their conviction and sentence.

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