The Supreme Court on Friday sought explanations from Bihar Health Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tej Pratap Yadav and RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin on a petition filed by wife of Hindustan journalist Rajdev Ranjan, who was shot dead in Siwan on May 13. The apex court also directed police to provide protection to petitioner Asha Ranjan and her two children.
Asha Ranjan has sought a court-monitored CBI probe and transfer of the trial outside Bihar, preferably to Delhi.
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Arguing for the petition, advocate Kislay Pandey submitted that sharpshooters Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed, suspects in the Rajdev Ranjan murder case, have been seen with Tej Pratap and Shahabuddin on many occasions. This, he said, indicated that the suspects had the support of the ruling dispensation and that the journalist’s family would never get justice in such circumstances. He also apprehended threat to the lives of Asha and her two children.
At this, the bench admitted the petition for hearing and asked advocate Gopal Singh, who is a standing counsel for the Bihar government in the apex court, to appear on the next date to make the state government’s stand clear.
As the petitioner’s counsel expressed inability to serve dasti (by hand) notices to Tej Pratap and Shahabuddin, the bench directed the Home Secretary to see to it that the duo is served the notices so that they appear in the court through their counsel on the next date of hearing.
The court was also told that although the investigation into the murder case has been handed over to the CBI, the agency was yet to make any progress. The bench then asked the CBI to come back with instructions on October 17 and also sought a status report on the investigation till then.
The court said that the SP of Siwan district and the SHO of the Nagar Thana police station have been asked to provide protection the petitioner’s family. “We have directed both the Superintendent of Police and the Station House Officer so that the petitioner, a lady in distress, shall feel protected,” said the court.
Asha Ranjan expressed satisfaction at the Supreme Court notice. “With the Supreme Court serving a notice to Mohammed Shahabuddin, I now hope to get justice. The CBI will also have to explain why it took over three months to take over the case,” she said.
On the other hand, Tej Pratap Yadav said that he “cannot read the forehead of a person to know if he is good or bad”. An undated photograph of the Bihar minister with Kaif recently appeared in newspapers. Kaif, who surrendered before a Siwan court Thursday, was wanted in an extortion case and may be questioned in the Rajdev Ranjan murder case.