Arun Kumar, Patna: A Siwan judge is moving to Patna on a request transfer nine months after he pronounced
RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin guilty in a 2004 murder case, fuelling speculation about administrative patronage to the ex-MP who is out on bail.
The ruling Janata Dal (United) was quick to dismiss the charge that was spreading on social media, even as Siwan additional district and sessions judge Ajay Kumar Srivastava chose to be silent on receiving an order shifting him to the state capital a day ahead of Shahabuddin’s release from the Bhagalpur prison.
According to sources, Srivastava is likely to join in Patna on Wednesday as additional district and sessions judge-3.Shahabuddin, who is accused in over 30 criminal cases, was released from Bhagalpur jail on September 10 after 11 years. A high court bench of JM Sharma, on September 7, granted him bail in connection with the murder of an acid case eyewitness, Rajiv Raushan, in Siwan, for want of evidence.
Two days after Shahabuddin secured bail, Srivastava was transferred to Patna.
High court sources said Srivastava was moved out on the basis of a representation he submitted to authorities. The contents of the representation were not available.
The high court notification dated September 9 states: “Ajay Kumar Srivastava-1, additional district and sessions judge, Siwan is transferred and posted at Patna in the same capacity.”
“A man staying at one place for too long always wants transfer. It is also required for freshness,” said a senior court functionary, terming Srivastava’s as “routine transfer”.
Not many took it in the face value, as Srivastava was the judge who pronounced Shahabuddin guilty on December 11 last year in the 2004 ‘acid bath’ that killed Rajiv Roushan’s two brothers Girish Raj and Satish Raj.Srivastava termed the twin murder as a “rarest of rare case”, and gave Shahabuddin a life sentence.
Last week, as the news of Srivastava’s transfer spread, people sought to link it to Shahabuddin’s release. Social media was abuzz with posts claiming that the RJD leader’s imminent exit from jail led Srivastava to seek transfer.
HC sources refuted the speculation. Srivastava, when contacted, refused to speak, saying “no comments, no comments”.
Patna HC registrar general Vinod Kumar Sinha said he was busy in a meeting. He could not be contacted till Tuesday night.
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said Srivastava’s transfer was a result of individual choice. “There is rule of law in Bihar. Nobody can terrorise the judiciary under the Nitish Kumar government,” he said. “Whether Shahabuddin is inside jail or outside, the rule of law will prevail.”