Judge who convicted RJD leader Shahabuddin requests transfer

Controversial gangster-turned-politician had been sentenced to life in murder case

Gulf News

Patna: A judge who handed a life sentence to controversial Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) politician Mohammad Shahabuddin, in a murder case, has been transferred on his own request, triggering debate over the prevailing law and order situation in Bihar.

According to reports, there are as many as 58 criminal cases pending against Shahabuddin.

Out of these, he has been convicted in eight cases.

The judge, Ajay Kumar Srivastava, sought a transfer out of Siwan — the hometown of Shahabuddin, where the judicial officer was posted for some three years — shortly after the criminal-turned-politician walked out of jail after getting bail from the Patna High Court earlier this month, reports said on Tuesday.

The judge has since been transferred to Patna.

The judge had made headlines after he awarded the life sentence to Shahabuddin in December last year, in a case relating to killing of two brothers in an acid bath, describing it as the “rarest of rare case”.

The victims were sons of a local businessman, Chandrakeshwar Prasad. His other son, who was a witness in the case, was also killed.

The victims’ father Prasad has now filed a petition in the Supreme Court through his lawyer Prashant Bhushan, challenging the bail granted by the High Court and seeking his immediate return to jail.

Hearing his petition, the court on Monday issued a notice to Shahabuddin asking him to reply within a week as to why his bail should not be cancelled. The State government too has moved the apex court, seeking cancellation of Shahabuddin bail while describing him as a “threat to society”.

The opposition mounted heavy attacks on the ruling Nitish Kumar government for the development.

“Just imagine the state of prevailing law and order situation on the ground. When a judge seeks transfer apprehending threats to his life, well you can imagine the condition of witnesses and common men living in Shahabuddin’s land,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Vinod Naraya Jha.

He sought the immediate return of Shahabuddin to jail and imposing of Crime Control Act (CCA) on him.

The ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) which is headed by chief minister Kumar has asked the judge not to worry saying the government would provide him foolproof security. “Well we know the people of Siwan are in panic after Shahabuddin’s release from jail and that’s why the state government has moved the SC seeking cancellation of his bail but Mr Judge need not worry. The state government will provide him adequate security to him,” JD-U spokesperson Ajay Alok told the media on Tuesday.