Siwan’s strongman and former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin on Saturday walked out of jail after 11 years. The Patna High court has granted him bail in the much-publicised Rajiv Raushan murder case. From a normal activist to an MP, he has walked into the political corridors with a stature of his own. Notorious for his Bahubali image, he is just the kind of antagonist Bollywood portrays in various films based on political issues.
The former parliamentarian started his career as a low-key worker in the Janata Dal youth wing under Lalu Prasad Yadav in early 90s. He won the 1990 and 1995 elections to the Vidhan Sabha (state legislative assembly) from Siwan district of Bihar, and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 on the JD ticket. A new party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), under the leadership of Lalu Yadav, was formed in 1997 and he was one of Lalu’s general. It was the golden phase of Lalu Yadav, which helped the growth of Shahabuddin's power in his native district and nearby areas.
Since 1996, he has been winning Lok Sabha elections from Siwan. Few opponents dare campaign publicly in fear. He is believed to have rigged many polling stations. In May 2007, Shahabuddin was found guilty in a case of "abducting with intent to murder". He was sentenced to life imprisonment which further debarred him from contesting polls. In the 2009 general elections, the RJD party had put up his wife Hena Shahab from Siwan constituency, but his long-time opponent Om Prakash Yadav defeated her by massive vote margin.
Shahabuddin fought the 2004 general elections from jail and won it comfortably. In late 2003, eight months before the 2004 general elections, Shahabuddin was arrested on charges of abducting a CPI(ML) worker, who was never seen again. Instead of staying in prison, he managed to get himself shifted to the Siwan hospital on medical grounds.
There are more than 30 criminal cases pending, including eight of murder, and 20 of attempted murder, kidnapping, extortion, etc. of these, charges were initially framed in eight cases.
Besides these police-registered cases, many other were unreported, which include a large number of "disappearances" from Siwan. Reports in the media allege that as many as a hundred bodies may be buried on the grounds of Shahabuddin's well-fortified Pratappur palace, the venue where the entire Bihar state police had to retreat after a fierce firefight while attempting to serve a warrant in 2001.
In May 2007, he was convicted of the abduction of the trader and CPI(ML) worker, Chhote Lal Gupta, in February 1999, who was never seen thereafter and is widely presumed to have been killed. He has been convicted in a number of other criminal cases, including a 10 years rigorous imprisonment for attempted murder on the then Superintendent of Police, SK Singhal, in 1996.
Charges under different sections of IPC have been imposed on former MP. These include 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 364 (kidnapping or abducting with intent to murder), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person), 379 (punishment for theft), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means).
Prakash Jha directed Apaharan in 2005, which was a take on Shahabuddin's parallel government in Siwan and his kidnapping industry. Nana Patekar played the character which was inspired by Shahabuddin and won Filmfare's best villain award.