Jailed gangster Shahabuddin moves SC against 'solitary confinement' in Tihar

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) Jailed gangster Mohammad Shahabuddin on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court alleging that he has been kept in complete isolation in Tihar prison and not been provided basic facilities including a place to offer prayers.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the grievances of Shahabuddin, serving life term in a 2004 double murder case, and posted the matter after two weeks.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Shahabuddin, said that he should be allowed to move around in the jail premises.

The former Rastriya Janta Dal (RJD) leader was shifted to Tihar jail in 2018 by the apex court from Siwan jail in Bihar.

He was declared as a history-sheeter Type A, or one who is beyond reform and has been a member of the legislative assembly on two occasions and a member of Parliament four times.

Shahabuddin has challenged the Delhi High Court order of August 30 last year, which had refused to grant him relief from alleged solitary confinement, place for offering prayer and access to other facilities in jail.

The high court had refused to agree with the contention of Shahabuddin that he has been placed in a solitary confinement saying he has been placed in a separate block and not in solitary confinement.

It had said that considering that he is a high-risk offender, he is, accordingly, not permitted to mix with other prisoners but have been provided with all basis facilities which are being provided to other prisoners in jail.

'It is stated that there is no restriction over the petitioner's day-to-day activities and the petitioner (Shahabuddin) has been provided the canteen facility, library facility, telephone facility, cable facility, medical facility etc. It is also affirmed that the petitioner has also been allowed 'regular mulaqat' (interview with relatives and friends) twice in a week,' the high court had said.

On a place to offer prayers, the high court had said that there is no impediment in the Shahabuddin offering prayers as per his faith, within the confines of the premises, where he is housed.

The apex court on February 15, 2018 had ordered shifting of Shahabuddin, now facing trial in over three dozen criminal cases, from Siwan Jail in Bihar to Tihar.

The apex court's order came on a plea filed by Asha Ranjan, the widow of slain Siwan-based journalist Rajdeo Ranjan, and Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons were killed in separate incidents by the gangster.

The top court had on October 30, last year upheld the conviction and sentence of Shahabuddin and three others in a 2004 double murder case in which two brothers were killed for not paying extortion money.

Satish and Girish Roshan were murdered in August 2004 in Siwan for refusing to pay extortion money.

A third brother, Rajiv Roshan, who was an eyewitness to the incident in which Shahabuddin's men allegedly threw acid to kill the two brothers, was shot dead on June 6, 2014.

Roshan was killed when he was going to depose against Shahabuddin in the trial court despite threats from the don and his henchmen.

On December 9, 2015, a special judge at Siwan had convicted Shahabuddin and his associates for the murders and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

On August 30, 2018, the Patna high court had upheld their conviction and sentence. PTI MNL PKS RKS ZMN