Siwan: Two days after the killing of a 45-year-old journalist in Bihar’s Siwan district, the police are yet to make any arrests.
Police officials however say links are now emerging that tie the murder to close associates of Mohd Shahabuddin, a former lawmaker of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and one of Bihar’s most notorious gangsters, currently lodged in the Siwan Jail and convicted for crimes like murder and kidnapping.
Upendra Singh, a brick kiln owner, and one of the three people detained for the murder of Rajdeo Ranjan, the bureau chief of the Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’, has close links to the jailed don, the Bihar Police has said.
Mr Singh used to be a facilitator for Shahabuddin’s sharpshooters between 1990 and 2005, when the now jailed don’s writ ran large in the area and a number of murders, kidnappings were allegedly committed on his orders.
Mr Singh is also an accused in a recent case of harbouring sharpshooters from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh in a shooting incident in Siwan town.
“Till we make arrests, it is really difficult to say yes or no to Shahabuddin’s involvement. But we are on the job. It is true that those arrested have close links to Shahbuddin,” said Saurabh Sah, Siwan’s top police officer.
In April this year, Mr Shahabuddin was given a place in a top panel of Lalu Yadav’s RJD, which co-governs Bihar with Nitish Kumar. Shahabuddin was named a member of the party’s national executive, its main decision-making body.
In March, an RJD minister landed the government in a controversy after a photograph of his meeting with Shahabuddin in jail was posted on social media. The photo had Shahabuddin flanked by the minister and a party lawmaker and all three were also having snacks in violation of prison rules.
The BJP says, this is proof enough of renewed patronage to the don. “Where is Bihar going? This is not a normal law and order issue. Siwan has a history. A strongman used to be MP here. Is that raj coming back?” Union Minister and Bihar Politician Ravi Shankar Prasad said.