April 18th, 2017
A Jamshedpur court on Monday acquitted former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP from Siwan, Bihar, Mohammad Shahabuddin, on a triple murder case dating back 2 February 1989, citing lack of evidence.
The triple murder
On 2 February 1989, Anand Rao, Janardan Chowbey and Pradeep Mishra were shot dead on spot near Tisco Power House, Jugsalai, Jamshedpur while travelling in a car. All the three victims were associated with the Congress – Anand Rao was a mafia-turned-aspiring politician and Janardan Chowbey was his accomplice. Pradeep Mishra was a Congress youth leader. The only survivor was the driver, Brahmeshwar Pathak, however he too received bullet shots on his body during the attack.
Pathak lodged a complaint in Jamshedpur police station, and thus began the investigation of the high profile triple murder case.
Eight people, including Shahabuddin, were accused, of which three died in jail and the rest were acquitted in 2006. As reported by India Today, one of the accused, Rama Singh, was an LJP (Lok Janshakti Party) MLA in Bihar.
For Shahabuddin, a Lok Sabha member of four years, a separate trial was held as he could be produced in court despite several summons over the years.
It is to be noted that all the eight accused were only linked to the murders and not convicted for them.
After 28 years of judicial proceedings, a Jamshedpur High Court acquitted Shahabuddin of the murders, citing lack of evidence. He is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail following a Supreme Court order in February this year to move him out of Siwan District jail.
In 1989, when Shahabuddin was accused in the triple murder case, he was yet to become a politician. He joined the youth wing of RJD in 1990 and became the youngest member of the Bihar Assembly that same year. Since then, Shahabuddin has been convicted in 10 cases, while 45 cases remain pending against him.
The Logical Indian Take
The three murders took place in broad daylight with eyewitnesses to the crime. However, Shahabuddin’s stronghold in Bihar obviated any deposition against him.
Last year in May, journalist Ranjan Rajdeo was also shot dead in Siwan. The suspect of the murder? RJD leader Shahabuddin who was released on bail at the time.
According to the Supreme Court records, Shahabuddin has been booked under 75 cases till date.
Despite his criminal record, he is one of the most successful politicians from Bihar. He was a four-time MP from Siwan and a two-time MLA to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. In spite of the Patna High Court debarring him from contesting the 2009 Bihar general election, Shahabuddin has maintained a strong influence in the state.
Where does this then leave the ordinary citizens of our country?
Who do we trust if not our political representatives and the judicial system?
When the law accepts criminals as innocents, it gives them the impunity to do whatever they want without any accountability.
The Jamshedpur Court’s verdict causes serious doubts in the minds of the general public of India about the legitimacy of our judicial system.
Mohammad Shahabuddin is a criminal and a criminal’s only place is behind bars, and not in the Parliament, representing our interests.