Scribe’s killers with RJD leaders; SC seeks report from judge
Uproar over reports that two alleged absconding killers of scribe Rajdev Ranjan were seen alongside Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and RJD strongman Shahabuddin on Monday came under the scanner of the Supreme Court of India, which sought a judicial report to ascertain whether the accused were “proclaimed offenders” on the day they had met.
The apex court, which granted three months time to CBI to conclude probe in the sensational case, also directed that six accused, including Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed who were seen alongside the RJD leaders, cannot seek statutory bail on the ground of non-filing of charge sheets in the matter.
“The Sessions Judge, Siwan (Town), Bihar, shall submit a report along with order sheets with regard to status of Mohd Kaif and Mohd Javed as regards they are proclaimed offenders or whether there was issue of non-bailable warrants of arrest from the court or any other aspect relating to the case concerned,” a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said.
“As the charge sheet has already been filed by the state police and further investigation is in progress by CBI, the accused persons who have been charge sheeted shall not claim any benefit for enlargement on bail under proviso to Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal procedure,” it said.
Yadav, elder son of RJD leader Lalu Prasad and a cabinet colleague of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, took the plea that “there were chance meetings” and in any case, the accused were not proclaimed offenders on the day. RJD Vice President Shahabuddin, who has recently been sent back to jail by the apex court, took the same plea that Mohd Kaif and Mohd Javed were not the proclaimed offenders on the day they were allegedly seen along with the RJD leaders.
Advocate Gopal Singh, appearing for Bihar, supported the contention of RJD leaders and said the accused were not proclaimed offenders on that day, prompting the bench to seek a judicial report along with trial court’s order sheets from the Sessions Judge of Siwan by November 28. Ranjan, 42, a senior journalist working with a vernacular daily, was shot dead on the evening of May 13 (rpt May 13) in Siwan town in Bihar.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for CBI, said the agency has taken over the probe and needed six months more to conclude investigations.