Patna: Controversial Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) politician Mohammad Shahabuddin found himself in real trouble on Friday as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) began its probe into journalist Rajdeo Ranjan’s murder even as two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to the former.
Shahabuddin walked out of jail last week after 11 years of incarceration following the bail granted by the Patna High Court. However, the euphoria didn’t last long as the entire opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party took to the streets, opposing the bail. The victim’s family too opposed his bail tooth and nail.
Apparently under pressure from various quarters, the CBI eventually took over the case and began investigation into the journalist’s murder on Friday, by formally registering a case in this regard. The case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act against unidentified persons.
The local media on Friday reported that a 10-member CBI team headed by a deputy SP-rank official has reached Siwan to begin investigation. The RJD has suspended Shahabuddin’s membership for his alleged involvement in the case although the state police have not established the charges levelled by the victim’s family.
The development comes some four months after the state government recommended for a CBI probe into the high-profile murder in view of a request from the victim’s family. The state police which probed the killing have claimed that they had cracked the case and arrested all five shooters.
However, the victim’s family alleges the real culprit is some other person. “Shooters are professional criminals. The real culprit is Mohammad Shahabuddin,” alleges Asha Ranjan, widow of Ranjan, a senior journalist working for a leading vernacular daily who was shot dead by some motorcycle-borne criminals in May this year.
Last week, she had met federal home minister Rajnath Singh, seeking a CBI probe into the murder soon after Shahbuddin was granted bail by the court. She had also sought an appointment to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi to place the same demand but couldn’t get time.
“I thank the central government for ordering a CBI probe into my husband’s murder. However, the CBI team has not contacted us so far,” Asha Ranjan told the media on Friday.
In a related development, the Bihar government on Friday moved the Supreme Court to cancel the bail granted to Shahabuddin by the Patna High Court. In its petition to the court, the state government cited law and order threats in Siwan city.
The state government moved the Supreme Court within hours after another petition challenging the bail was filed by Chandrakeshwar Prasad whose three children were killed by the criminals. He filed the petition through prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Prasad alleges his children were killed by none other Shahabuddin although the latter was in jail when the killings took place.