PAtna: In a major embarrassment to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, one of his cabinet colleagues was caught on camera, feasting with former MP and RJD strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is serving a life sentence in connection with a murder case, inside Siwan jail.
Bihar Minority Affairs Minister Abdul Ghafoor and another MLA met Shahabuddin at Siwan jail on March 6 and photos of their luncheon with the prisoner went viral. Asked about it, Ghafoor termed it a courtesy call. “I was in the (Siwan) circuit house and as the jail was nearby, I decided to meet Shahabuddin. There is nothing unusual as he has been associated with our party for a very long time,” he said.
However, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said till the time such people get government patronage, Bihar can never become crime-free. He asked Nitish Kumar to seek the resignation of the minister immediately. Another senior BJP leader Nand Kishor Yadav said the incident proved how hardcore criminals were enjoying patronage of the government.
Defending the minister, RJD chief Lalu Prasad quipped, “When we go to meet anyone in jail, we are treated with snacks as a normal courtesy. Why is BJP upset over that?” Shahabuddin was recently awarded life imprisonment in a 2004 double murder case. He was charged with pouring acid on two brothers. He has been in Siwan jail for 10 years. At least eight cases of murder and abductions are pending against him in different courts.