Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gujarat not to proceed with the trial in Tulsiram Prajapati case

The Gujarat government on Tuesday gave an undertaking in the Supreme Court that the trial in the Tulsiram Prajapati case in which the State had filed the charge sheet would not proceed till the Supreme Court passed an order on the application seeking transfer of the probe to the CBI.

Counsel for the State gave this undertaking before a Bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha, hearing the CBI's appeal against the Gujarat High Court order granting bail to the former Gujarat Minister, Amit Shah, in the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

Senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi told the Bench that the State had hurriedly filed a charge sheet in the Tulsiram Prajapati case and if a judgment was rendered by the trial court, it would create problems as the application for the CBI probe was pending before another Bench of the Supreme Court.

Justice Alam told counsel for the State that if the trial proceeded further it would result in serious complications and at this juncture counsel gave an undertaking that it would not proceed till the application was decided by another Bench.

Earlier Justice Alam told Mr. Tulsi that the CBI had not followed the correct legal procedure when it asked for shifting the case outside Gujarat. Justice Alam pointed out that without filing a proper application, such transfers could not be sought in the appeal seeking cancellation of the bail. When Mr. Tulsi submitted that since such a plea was made in the status report, the court could pass an order for shifting the case.

Case foisted: Jethmalani

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Mr. Shah argued that the CBI could not seek transfer of the case without filing a formal application under section 406(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

He said the case against Mr. Shah had been foisted and “we are fighting the battle with the Central government. I will prove to the court that the CBI officers who had brought this false case should be prosecuted and that my client is innocent.”

Mr. Tulsi alleged that Mr. Shah who wielded tremendous influence in the State was threatening the witnesses and tampering with evidence and the atmosphere in Gujarat was not conducive for a fair trial. He said witnesses like Azam Khan and others were kidnapped by the State police and threatened.

When Justice Alam wanted to know whether Mr. Shah had tampered with evidence or threatened witnesses after October 30, when the court asked him to stay outside Gujarat, Mr. Tulsi said one witness was threatened.

Charge refuted
However, Mr. Jethmalani refuted the allegation. But he gave an assurance to the court that Mr. Shah would not indulge in any such activities, while making it clear that he had not done so in the past also. Arguments will continue on January 27, 2011.

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