The Tihar Jail authorities Friday denied before the Delhi High Court that former Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Mohammad Shahabuddin has been kept in solitary confinement since February last year. Shahabuddin, who is facing trial in 45 criminal cases, had moved the court against the jail authorities for allegedly keeping him in solitary confinement for the last one year without any court order in an attempt to deliberately torture him.
A habeas corpus plea, filed on behalf of the RJD strongman through his advocate Rudro Chatterjee, also urged the HC to direct the jail authorities to produce Shahabuddin, currently lodged in central jail number 2 of Tihar, before HC. It has also sought appropriate orders for his safety. In an affidavit filed by Standing Counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, the Tihar jail authorities denied the allegation of torture and solitary confinement of Shahabuddin as “false and baseless.”
“In fact, the petitioner (Shahabuddin) is lodged in High Security Ward of Jail No 2 of Tihar (jail) in a separate block… He is fully safe and secured in this jail in all terms and in order to curtail his past nefarious activities and also for the safety of other prisoners,” the affidavit said.
The jail authorities also said that the former MP was being provided all basic facilities as per provisions of Delhi Jail Manual and there were no restrictions over his day-to-day activities.
“Such conduct of the petitioner (Shahabuddin) itself shows that he is pressing hard for transfer to a general ward of Tihar prison to get undue advantage and re-establish his previous criminal nexus,” it said.
In his plea, Shahabuddin had also claimed that since the time he had been shifted to Tihar from Siwan, he was being kept in a dingy cell with no source of natural light — an allegation that has been denied by the jail authority. Jail authorities told the HC bench, comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and P S Teji, that Shahabuddin has filed a similar petition before a trial court here. The high court will now hear the matter on May 7.