New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai discharged BJP president Amit Shah in the fake encounter cases of Shorabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati.
The Central Bureau of Investigation special court dropped all charges against Shah in the alleged fake encounter killings of Sheikh, an alleged extremist, his wife Kauser Bi and Tulsi Prajapati, who was said to be an eyewitness to his killing. This means he will not have to face trial in the case.
“I am of the opinion that the inference drawn by CBI is not accepted in totality and he (Shah) cannot be charged as an accused,” special CBI judge MB Gosavi said in a brief order pronounced in the court.
In September 2013, the CBI had charge-sheeted Shah, the former home minister of Gujarat, and 18 others, including several police officers. Shah was charged with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and offences under the Arms Act.
Sohrabuddin was allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s anti-terrorism squad and killed in an encounter with the police on November 26, 2005, in Ahmedabad. His wife Kausar Bi was murdered three days later, and her body disposed of.
Following this, Sohrabuddin’s brother, Rubabuddin, had filed a complaint that his brother was killed in a fake encounter.
The Gujarat police had claimed Sohrabuddin had links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and planned to assassinate important political leaders.
Tulsiram Prajapati was killed by the police at Chapri village in Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 28, 2006.
The CBI alleged that Shah, who was Gujarat’s home minister at the time, was involved in both killings as the police reported to him.
Shah stepped down as home minister in 2010 after he was arrested in the case. He got bail three months later.
Senior counsel Mihir Desai, who had appeared for complainant Rubabuddin, had argued in court that Shah was in frequent touch with police officers S Rajkumar Pandyan and DG Vanzara, who are in jail in connection with the case, and that he also tried to influence the investigation into the killings.
Looking at the statements recorded in the charge sheet the minimum that can be deciphered is that Shah was either trying to destroy evidence or fabricate it, and hence the discharge plea should be rejected, said Desai.
But Shah’s lawyer had contested that call records of Shah and some police officials between November 2005 and December 2006 have been brought on record, but calls made by Shah before and after the period were not.
Even the content of the talk was not produced, Shah’s lawyer had contested.
(With inputs from PTI)