Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sohrab case accused’s kin are prosecutors, judges: CBI

New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is set to request the Supreme Court to shift Sohrabuddin fake encounter case trial outside Gujarat, saying relatives of some accused were prosecutors and judges in the lower judiciary.

The agency's application, to be filed in a day or two, lists eight grounds to buttress the transfer argument saying it would ensure free and fair trial in the politically sensitive 2005 fake encounter case. Former junior home minister Amit Shah and former cops D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N are among the 14 who have been chargesheeted in the case.

The Supreme Court had in January last year entrusted the probe to CBI after noticing lacunae in investigations by the state police.

Presence of relatives of some of the accused as public prosecutors and judges in the subordinate judiciary of Gujarat, cited by the CBI to express apprehension of a mistrial, is sure to raise a din as Shah’s counsel Ram Jethmalani has already accused the agency of bias before the Supreme Court.

CBI sources said the surcharged atmosphere in the trial court because of the presence of supporters of Shah and the former police officials was another ground for seeking transfer of the trial outside the state.

In addition, CBI said repeated attempts had been made in the past by accused, including Shah, to coerce witnesses. To ensure fair trial, the case needed to be held in a calm and detached atmosphere, which was not possible in Gujarat, the sources said.

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