Two jailed UPA MPs to vote in trust motion (Roundup)

July 16th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Patna, July 16 (IANS) There was good news for the beleaguered Manmohan Singh government as the Patna High Court Wednesday gave a green signal to two jailed MPs of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to take part the July 22 trust vote. The court granted Mohammed Shahabuddin of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) permission to go to New Delhi and vote in parliament. He had moved the court last week.

The court also granted bail to Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MP Surajbhan Singh, who has appealed his conviction for murder.

A division bench of the court granted bail to Singh after hearing a petition filed by him that challenged his conviction by a Begusarai court last month for the murder of a farmer over 16 years ago.

Both RJD and LJP are part of the UPA government, which has been reduced to a minority after the Left parties withdrew their support to it last week.

While the Samajwadi party has come forward to back the government, every vote is crucial for the UPA’s survival as it strives to prove majority in the 545-member Lok Sabha.

Shahabuddin, arrested in New Delhi in 2005, is lodged in Siwan jail in Bihar.

The RJD leader was convicted for the first time in March 2007 for his role in an attack on a Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) office in Siwan in 1998.

In May 2007, a special court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and murder of Chhote Lal Gupta, a CPI-ML worker, in 1999.

In August 2007, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for attacking then Siwan superintendent of police S.K. Singhal in 1996.

Shahabuddin is a Lok Sabha member from Siwan since 1996.

Singh was in jail after the Begusarai court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

“The court has now given him bail on the plea that no evidence of the MP’s direct involvement in the murder exists,” said Rana Pratap Singh, his lawyer.

Singh is considered close to Steel Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.

Last month a Begusarai fast track court judge Ravi Prakash Dhar Dubey jailed three people, including Surajbhan Singh, for life, a day after they were convicted for farmer Rami Singh’s murder Jan 16, 1992.

Early this month Singh appealed to the high court against his conviction. The MP faces 30 criminal charges, including those of murder, extortion, kidnapping and looting.

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