New Delhi, (IANS) The Supreme Court will pronounce on Friday its order on the Bihar government’s plea challenging the bail granted to RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin in the Rajiv Roshan murder case.
The September 7 order of the Patna High Court granting bail to Shahabuddin was initially challenged by one Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons — third one being Rajiv Roshan — were killed allegedly by Shahabuddin’s henchmen.
The bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy gave the ruling at the conclusion of arguments.
Shahabuddin’s counsel Shekhar Naphade told the court that although cognizance of the case was taken on February 25, 2015, he had not been served the charge-sheet to date, despite its being a mandatory requirement under criminal law.
Naphade on Thursday told the court that it was the Bihar government that was delaying the trial, and the shifting of Shahabuddin from Siwan to Bhagalpur Central Jail on May 18, 2016, was also a ploy to that end.
Criticising the alleged delays engineered by the state government, Naphade said that it was contrary to the principle of natural justice, as Shahabuddin was not given a hearing.
“It is a conscious attempt on their (Bihar government) part that the trial should not proceed. The moment the trial starts, it will not stand, as there is no evidence of alleged conspiracy against me (Shahabuddin),” Naphade told the court.
Fortifying his client’s bail request, Naphade told the bench that it could saddle him with any condition. The accused would stay in Delhi and never go to Bihar till the end of trial, he added.
Countering this, the Bihar government’s counsel argued that Shahabuddin had challenged the order after taking cognizance of the charge-sheet before the session’s court, and it was not possible that he did it without having a copy of the document.
Senior counsel Dinesh Dwivedi recounted to the court that the trial court took cognizance on February 25, 2015, and it was challenged by Shahabuddin in a criminal revision on May 25, 2015, and that case lasted for 14 months till his plea was rejected by the session’s court on July 22, 2016.
Dwivedi told the bench that when the high court on February 3, 2016 ordered that trial in the case be completed in nine months, it was not told that the entire record of the case was with the session’s court, which was seized of the revision petition challenging February 25, 2015, order of cognizance by the trial court.
Counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for Chandrakeshwar Prasad, said that cognizance of charge-sheet was taken on February 25, 2015, thereafter Shahabuddin challenged the order of cognizance. He moved the court thrice for grant of bail, but he never aired the grievance that he had not been given the copy of the charge-sheet, he pointed out.
Bhushan asked that even if there was delay of nine months, could it be the basis for grant of bail to a criminal who had been convicted in 10 cases, awarded life imprisonment in two cases, 10-year sentence in one and also facing charges under the Arms Act.
It was only now that his counsel was telling the top court, that too in an oral argument, that he had not been provided the copy of the charge-sheet. He said that there was not even a whisper since February 25, 2015, when cognizance was taken, that he had not been supplied with a copy of charge-sheet.
Defending Shahabuddin’s shifting to Bhagalpur jail, Bhushan told the bench that jail authorities in Siwan were at the beck and call of Shahabuddin and he used to leave the jail at his will and was present when Chandrakeshwar Prasad’s two sons were killed by his henchmen.