Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sohrabuddin case: CBI files status report in Supreme Court

The CBI on Thursday filed in the Supreme Court a status report relating to the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh by the Gujarat police in which former State Home Minister Amit Shah is a key accused.

The status report filed in a sealed cover by the CBI is pursuant to the August 12 order by a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha which had directed the agency to file it within three months.

CBI’s senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi, when contacted by PTI, said the report was filed on Thursday.

Mr. Shah, who was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court, has been asked by the apex court to stay outside the State till November 29. The Supreme Court will decide the CBI’s plea for cancellation of his bail.

Several Gujarat police officers including suspended DIG D.G. Vanzara, R.K. Pandiyan (both Gujarat cadre IPS officers), and Dinesh M.N. (Rajasthan cadre IPS officer) are the main accused in the encounter case and are presently lodged in jail.

Sheikh was allegedly killed by the Gujarat police after abducting him with the help of Andhra Pradesh police claiming that he was planning to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi in November 2005. The policemen are alleged to have subsequently killed his wife Kauser Bi and accomplice Tulsiram Prajapati as they were said to have witnessed the killing.

The apex court Bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Aftab Alam had on January 12 ordered a CBI probe after slamming the shoddy investigations conducted by the state police.

However, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani had during the last hearing questioned the Supreme Court order for CBI probe, alleging it was passed by a Bench headed by a judge, (Justice Chatterjee), who was himself under the agency’s scanner in a criminal case.

He had contended that Mr. Shah was dragged into it by the CBI as “the entire conspiracy was hatched at the highest level to destroy him and Chief Minister Narendra Modi”. However, his submission evoked strong objections from the Bench and Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who said such remarks cannot be made against the former judge and he (SG) has to protect him.

The Bench then on August 12 granted three months extension to the CBI to complete the probe and rejected the contention of Mr. Jethmalani that the CBI should not be granted any more extension to probe the case as the charge sheet had been filed only after the completion of the investigation.

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