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CBI to grill Siwan strongman

The CBI is all set to take jailed don-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin on police remand for interrogation over the murder of Siwan scribe Rajdev Ranjan in May last year.

By Ramashankar in Patna
  • Published 27.05.17
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Patna, May 26: The CBI is all set to take jailed don-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin on police remand for interrogation over the murder of Siwan scribe Rajdev Ranjan in May last year.

A special CBI court headed by Anupama Kumari todayallowed the investigating agency to take Shahabuddin on eight-day remand.

The central probe agency has named the former RJD MP from Siwan as the 10th accused in the case. Earlier in the day, CBI lawyer Sharad Sinha told the court that the investigating agency has gathered sufficient evidence to corroborate the charges against the former Siwan MP, who is lodged in Delhi's high-security Tihar Central Jail.

On Friday, Shahabuddin deposed before the court through video-conferencing. Sinha said the former RJD MP has been charged with plotting the murder of Ranjan, the Siwan bureau chief of the Hindi daily Hindustan, from behind the bars. Shahabuddin was lodged in Siwan divisional jail when Ranjan was murdered in the district headquarters town on May 13, 2016.

The court has fixed June 9 as the date for the next hearing of the case.

Sinha said the CBI would file the charge sheet against Shahabuddin in court soon.

"We have already provided material evidence to the court, which issued a production warrant against him," Sinha told journalists in Muzaffarpur, around 80km north of Patna.

Randjan's widow, Asha, had told the central probe agency that Shahabuddin had orchestrated the murder of Ranjan because he was not happy with the journalist for writing against him. The prime accused in the case, Laddan Mian, is considered close to Shahabuddin. On Monday, the same court had issued a production warrant against Shahabuddin. The investigating officer, Sunil Singh Rawat, had submitted a 51-page report in a sealed cover to the court.

The Siwan police, which was probing the case before the CBI took over after Asha filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court for a central probe, had said Ranjan's murder was a "premeditated conspiracy". The police had also arrested five persons who used to work for Laddan, who is lodged in Shaheed Khudiram Bose Memorial Central Jail in Muzaffarpur.

CBI sources said Shahabuddin's name was revealed by one of the accused, Mohammad Kaif alias Bunty, during interrogation.

Kaif and another accused Mohammad Javed were recently granted bail by the court as Rawat, a DSP-rank officer, failed to submit a charge sheet within 90 days of arrest.

The charge sheet has been filed against another accused, Sonu Kumar Soni.

Others named as accused in the case are Rishu Kumar Jaiswal, Rohit Kumar, Vijay Kumar and Rajesh Kumar. The police also seized a 7.65mm country-made pistol, which the cops suspect was used in the crime, from Soni's house in Siwan.

Shahabuddin is present facing trial in 45 cases. He was shifted to Tihar Jail in February this year on the directive of the Supreme Court while hearing a petition filed by Siwan resident Chandrakeshwar Prasad, who alleges the don murdered three of his four sons in two separate incidents.

Shahabuddin has represented Siwan four times in the Lok Sabha from 1996 to 2009 as a Member of Parliament of the RJD led by former chief minister Lalu Prasad. He is serving a life-sentence in connection with a murder case.