AT LEAST half-an-hour before former RJD MP from Siwan Mohammad Shahabuddin was released on bail on Saturday morning, the road leading to the Special Central Jail here was lined with RJD and JD(U) supporters, carrying bouquets of flowers, waving green flags and shouting slogans.
At 7:08 am, Shahabuddin — in jail since November 5, 2005 — walked out. Speaking to the mediapersons gathered outside, he professed his loyalty to RJD chief Lalu Prasad, while making it clear that Nitish Kumar may be the chief minister but he was not his leader.
“Everyone knows whom I have been with all these years, and whom I will remain with. Nitish Kumar paristhitiyon ke neta hai (a leader born out of circumstances),” he said, replying to a question.
“Mere neta agar narak mein jayenge to meri to badhyta hai main bhi unke saath jaun. Nitish Kumar gathbandhan ke mukhyamantri ho sakte hain, mere neta nahin. Lalu Prasad 27 saalon se mere neta hain, aur jab tak zinda hain, mere neta rahenge (If my leader goes to hell, I am bound to go with him. Nitish Kumar is the chief minister of the Grand Alliance, but not my leader. Lalu Prasad has been my leader for 27 years, and will remain so till he is alive),” he said, before leaving in a convoy of vehicles for Siwan.
Shahabuddin said neither was Nitish instrumental in sending him to jail, nor did he help in getting him bail. “It is part of the judicial process. Nobody sends anyone to jail. Lalu Prasad had to go to jail despite being the chief minister,” he said.
Meanwhile, even as Shahabuddin made snide remarks about Nitish, Belhar JD(U) MLA Girdhari Yadav was among those who waited for him outside. Asked about reports of his reign of terror, Shahabuddin said: “It is the media that has been saying that. I have my sea of supporters. People know the work I have done in the 26 years. I do not think I need to change my image after being released on bail. I have not met the public for the last 10 years, but their support for me has not waned”.
On his alleged involvement in Siwan journalist Rajdev Ranjan’s murder in May, Shahabuddin said: “I have also heard about this through the media”. Convicted in five cases, Shahabuddin was granted bail earlier this week in the 2014 Rajiv Roshan murder case in which he is named as a conspirator.
Rajiv Roshan was killed in 2014, a few days before he was set to depose in court in the murder case of his brothers, Satish and Girish. The duo were killed in an acid attack in 2004, and Rajiv Roshan was a witness. Speaking to The Sunday Express, Shahabuddin’s wife, Hina, said: “We cannot describe our happiness… We are indebted to the people of Siwan for their love for my husband.”