PATNA: The trial in Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case began on Monday with Asha Ranjan, wife of the slain journalist, deposing before a special CBI court at Muzaffarpur to record her statement. However, her statement could not be recorded as the judge was on leave. The next date of hearing in the case is March 28.
The CBI is set to produce the witnesses in the court to get their statements recorded. The charges against all the eight accused, including former Siwan MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, were framed on January 29.
Sharad Sinha, a practicing lawyer of Muzaffarpur civil court, said Asha Ranjan, who is the informant of the case, was present in the court on Monday. However, she had to return to Siwan as the court proceedings could not be held. She had been provided security guards to escort her from Siwan to the trial court at Muzaffarpur. CBI special public prosecutor Atul Kumar was also present in the court.
Sinha said the process of trial started with the framing of the charges in the special CBI court against all the eight accused on January 29 this year. While the names of two accused — Shahabuddin and Sonu Kumar Gupta — surfaced during investigation conducted by the CBI, the district police had chargesheeted only six accused —Mohammad Azharuddin alias Laddan Mian, V K Gupta, Rohit Kumar, Rajesh Kumar, Rishu Kumar Jaiswal and Soni Kumar Soni.
According to Sinha, over 200 witnesses are to be produced in the court. The prosecuting agency has already asked them to be prepared to record their statement in the trial court. In contrast, Asha Ranjan, a teacher in a government school, was summoned by the court on Monday, Sinha said.
Rajeo Ranjan, the bureau chief of a vernacular daily, was gunned down by a gang of armed criminals on July 13, 2016 while returning home from his office on his motorcycle. The case was initially probed by the district police, which suggested the involvement of six persons. The chargesheet was submitted in the special CBI court in December 2016.
Shahabuddin is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail. He was shifted to Tihar jail from the special central jail at Bhagalpur on the directive of the Supreme Court.