A special Siwan court on Wednesday convicted former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in the infamous 2004 acid murder case in which two brothers, sons of a Siwan businessman, were drenched in acid and killed. The quantum of punishment will be decided on Friday.
Special public prosecutor Jayprakash Singh told reporters that the court convicted Shahabuddin, his aides — Sheikh Aslam, Sheikh Arif alias Monu and Rajkumar Sah — for murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.
“The court has called it a rarest of rare case. We expect the court to give maximum punishment given under the concerned IPC sections”, said Singh.
In August 2004, two brothers — Girish (23) and Satish (20) — were allegedly abducted by Shahabuddin’s supporters after a prolonged tiff with the duo’s father, Chandrakeshwar Prasad alias Chanda Babu, over possession of his shops in the main Siwan market. While Girish and Satish were killed, their elder brother Rajiv Roshan, who was also abducted, had managed to flee.
Roshan was later killed in June 2014, three days before he was slated to appear in the court to record his statement afresh as an eyewitness after Patna High Court’s intervention in the case. The Roshan murder case is being dealt with separately.
While Siwan police had told the court that Shahabuddin was in jail on the day of the double murder, Roshan had claimed the leader was present at the scene. The special public prosector claimed that Rajiv Roshan’s testimony against Shahabuddin proved crucial in getting a conviction.
Shahabuddin’s lawyer Abhay Kumar Rajan, however, said they will challenge the order in high court. “We maintain that Shahabuddin was in jail on day of murder of the two brothers. No jail official has been named. So, how can it be proved that my client was not in jail on day of the murder,” said Rajan.
Shahabuddin, who already stands convicted in about half a dozen other cases, is lodged at the Siwan jail.
Chanda Babu, who lost his three sons for standing up to might of Shahabuddin, said: “I have lost everything. I will wait to see what punishment the court awards the convicts on Friday. It has been a long wait for justice”.
He said he had lost his sons because he stood his ground and did not concede his property to Shahabuddin. Chanda Babu also claimed he had been under constant pressure to leave Siwan, but he held his ground as he feared no one after losing his sons. His fourth son, Nitish Raj, is differently abled.
Shahabuddin’s writ allegedly ran across Siwan during the 1990s, when he represented the area an RJD MLA, and was subsequently elected to the Lok Sabha as well. In the early 2000s, he was accused of running parallel administration in Siwan, which reportedly involved ruling on disputes, deciding fees for services, and handing out “justice”.