Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decks cleared for CBI court to decide on Amin's plea

The decks have finally been cleared for the CBI special court taking a decision on the application by the suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police, Narendra Amin, to turn approver in the Sohrabuddin –Kausar Bi murder case with the Gujarat High Court on Thursday removing last of the hurdles.

The High Court dismissed a petition of the suspended IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian, and others, all co-accused, challenging the constitutional validity of Mr. Amin's application. The petitioners, who challenged Section 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code, claimed that granting pardon to Mr Amin because he wished to turn approver would be a violation of their fundamental rights.

But a Division Bench of Justices Jayant Patel and H. B. Antani said Section 306, read with the principles of natural justice and provisions of the Constitution, did not cause prejudice to the fundamental rights of the accused. The Bench referred to its October 7 judgment on another petition related to the same case and said the co-accused had no role to play before the grant of pardon and recording of the statement of a person who wished to turn approver.

Thursday's judgment was almost a foregone conclusion after the Bench had on October 7 held “misdirected” the CBI special court referring to the High Court the constitutionality of Mr. Amin's application, and that the CBI court had the powers to take a decision on the issue. Mr. Pandian's petition was, however, not clubbed with the demands from the petitioners as they wanted separate hearings.

Mr. Amin filed the application in the special CBI court of judge A. Y. Dave on July 26 — a day after the former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, was arrested by the CBI — seeking pardon and permission to turn approver. His application was opposed by the eight co-accused, including the principal accused, the former DIG, D. G. Vanzara; Mr. Pandian and Dinesh Kumar M. N., and the CBI special court made a reference to the High Court. The CBI also filed a petition challenging the special court's reference.

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