| Mohammad Shahabuddin
Patna, May4: Police are closing in on Mohammad Shahabuddin’s men and, as the Rashtriya Janata Dal MP cut down on his public engagements as a result, his relations with party chief Laloo Prasad Yadav have begun to sour.
The police raided an Islampur farmhouse belonging to the Siwan MP on April 21 searching for illegal weapons. During their five-hour search they allegedly burnt sacks of wheat preserved there but failed to find the weapons.
Shahabuddin slammed director-general of police D.P. Ojha for the raid. His cousin, Mohammad Maqsud, filed a case against the police the next day at the chief judicial magistrate’s court, alleging an attempt to defame the MP.
But yesterday, the police arrested Sultan Mian, believed to be close to Shahabuddin, along with his wife, Kanchan Mishra.
Sultan allegedly abducted Kanchan from a massage parlour and married her forcibly. He is allegedly responsible for at least 12 killings and his links with RJD politicians are sure to be investigated by the police.
Sultan’s connections with a minister, Ezazul Haque, have also come under the scanner after the former admitted that he had stayed in Haque’s Patna house.
Sultan’s links with Shahabuddin have been the subject of a heated Opposition campaign. These links came to be investigated after the MP attended the marriage of Sultan’s sister’s late last year and Sultan’s own controversial marriage to Kanchan.
Shahabuddin has been surprised by the manner in which the Special Task Force has been keeping tabs on him.
The MP suspects that the police are being let loose on him to stage a repeat of the May 2001 Pratappur incident in which he would have been killed if he had not slipped through the Uttar Pradesh border sporting a burqa.
Wary, he is now distancing himself from party programmes. Shahabuddin stayed away from the RJD national executive meeting in Balmikinagar in early March and skipped the lathi rally organised by party president Laloo Yadav in Patna on April 30. This has undermined his relations with Laloo.
“I am not happy with the police highhandedness. I resent the raid on my farmhouse and therefore, my men have filed a court case,” the MP said.
He clarified that he could not attend the lathi rally because he was unwell.
Rumours are afoot that Shahabuddin is preparing to contest the next parliamentary election as an Independent after severing ties with the RJD. But the MP refused to comment on this.
He also dismissed any link with Sultan, saying this was a campaign meant to discredit him.
Laloo is reportedly aware why Shahabuddin is feeling miffed. He has sent two emissaries urging the MP to talk to him, but has failed to get a response.
Sources said Shahabuddin wants the STF to be taken off his back and the police pressure on him eased.
But Laloo is reportedly in no mood to interfere in the functioning of the police.