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Former RJD MP Mohd. Shahabuddin dies of COVID-19

Former Rashtriya Janata Dal MP from Siwan in Bihar Mohd. Shahabuddin, who was serving a life sentence for murder in Delhi’s Tihar jail, died on Saturday due to COVID-19. The RJD leader was known as a bahubali (strongman) and close to the party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Shahabuddin, 53, was admitted to a private hospital in Delhi on April 20 after he tested positive. However, his condition deteriorated two days back and he was put on ventilator support.

“Information has been received from the Deen Dayal Upadhayaya hospital in Delhi about death of Mohd Shahabuddin. He was suffering from COVID-19 and was admitted in DDU on April 20,” Sandeep Goel, Director General of Tihar prison said.

Earlier, the RJD leader had approached Delhi High Court seeking better medical attention after his infection following which the Delhi High Court had issued necessary directions to the jail authorities.

Accused in over three dozen cases, the four-time RJD MP and two-time MLA Mohd. Shahabuddin has been a name which spelt terror in Siwan for a several years. He was infamously known as “Sultan of Siwan” and “Saheb” among local people. In April 2005, during a police raid at his ancestral house in Pratapur village, illegal weapons including AK-47s, hand grenades, laser-guided guns and night-vision goggles were seized. His name was also figured in the murder of former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union president Chandrashekhar and a local scribe Rajdeo Ranjan.

He ran his fiefdom in Siwan with impunity from 1990-2005 so much so that a report by People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 2001 had said: “The patronage and de facto immunity from legal action offered to him by the RJD government gradually made him a law unto himself giving him an aura of invincibility. The police turned a blind eye to his criminal activities and allowed him to turn Siwan district into his fiefdom where his fiat ran. Shahabuddin’s reign of terror was so complete that nobody dared to depose against him in cases in which he was an accused.”

In 2003, the then Director General of Police D.P. Ojha had prepared a voluminous dossier on Mohd Shahabuddin with details of his alleged links not only with a Kashmiri terror organization but also with the ISI and Dawood Ibrahim.

However, when the NDA government came to power in 2005 in Bihar with Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister, speedy trial in most of the cases registered against him were set up and he was convicted in many of them and imprisoned thereafter. His conviction, later, led to his disqualification from contesting elections. After 11 years of incarceration, Mohd. Shahabuddin came out of Bhagalpur jail in 2016 in a double murder case of two young sons of a local businessman Chandeshwar Prasad in 2004. He was sentenced life-term in the case. “Freedom of Mohd Shahabuddin is our death sentence”, Mr Prasad had told The Hindu after his bail from the jail. But, soon after coming out of jail, Mohd Shahabuddin had made a controversial remark against Nitish Kumar saying he was Chief Minister of circumstances”. A few days later his bail was rejected and again he was back in jail. Following a Supreme Court order, Shahabuddin was shifted to Tihar jail in February 2018.

In his absence, his wife Hina Sahab had contested parliamentary poll thrice from Siwan as RJD candidate but was not successful. Mohd Shahabuddin has two daughters and one son.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav and several other leaders of across political parties offered condolences on the death of Shahabuddin.

“Former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin’s untimely demise due to Covid-19 infection is sad news. May God give him a place in heaven, provide support to family and well-wishers. His demise is irreparable damage to the party. During this time of sadness, RJD is with the bereaved family,” tweeted Tejashwi Yadav.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 2:15:17 AM |

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