Ex-Gujarat Minister Amit Shah, arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, has asked the Supreme Court to recall its order for a CBI probe on the grounds of “bias,” levelling allegations of conspiracy against its judge and the Centre.
Mr. Shah, a close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and a former State Minister, alleged that Justice Tarun Chatterjee (since retired) who as part of the Bench ordered the CBI probe in the case on January 12, was under the scanner of the investigating agency in the Uttar Pradesh Provident Fund Scam for “breach of trust.”
The 87-page application by Mr. Shah, which sought recall of the order, contended that the entire exercise was the result of “political conspiracy to launch an unconstitutional assault on the constitutionally formed and democratically elected Gujarat Government”, Mr. Shah, a former minister of state for home, is currently in judicial custody in Ahmedabad.
The application prepared under the guidance of Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, also questioned the propriety of Justice Aftab Alam in hearing the matter when he was aware that the name of Justice Chatterjee had cropped up in the PF scam and that CBI was probing his alleged involvement.
“The January 12 order ought to be recalled on the ground of bias as there is reasonable possibility or likelihood that (retired) Justice Chatterjee who passed the order was biased and suffered from automatic disqualification to hear the case,” the application said.
It also spoke about Justice Alam saying that “if he was in the know of the fact that Justice Chatterjee suffered from automatic disqualification, he too ought to have recused himself.”
The application by Mr. Shah has also raised some points identical to that mentioned in the curative petition filed by senior IPS officer Geeta Johri, who alleged that the CBI was proceeding in the case with a particular political colour.
Like Ms. Johri, the former Minister also alleged CBI was coercing witnesses to depose in a particular manner and deputed a officer, who was questioned in connection with the case.
He also like Ms. Johri demanded removal of Balwinder Singh, special CBI Director from the probe, as he was interrogated in connection with the case when he was the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad.
Asking why the CBI is not investigating the role of the Andhra Pradesh Police in the alleged abduction, Mr. Shah sought the removal of Kandaswamy, IPS, who is in-charge of the investigation.
He said that the “most shocking aspect of the CBI investigation is that Balwinder Singh who ought to be answering questions from any investigator of the Sobrabuddin encounter on the role of the AP police is now supervising the very investigation and Geetha Johri, who as the head of the Gujarat CID Crime was heading the investigation of the Sohrabuddin encounter and was wanting to question Balwinder Singh, is now being questioned and even threatened with arrest.”
Mr. Jethmalani had, on August 12, questioned the apex court order for CBI probe into the case saying it was passed by a bench headed by a judge who was himself under the agency’s scanner in a criminal case.
However, his request for adjourning the case for a day for filing the application on behalf of Mr. Shah was not allowed.
Justice Alam had also expressed reservation on his plea.
“How will you get the order quashed or set aside. We don’t know. How will you do that. I am unable to conceive that how that order will be quashed. If you have some idea you can do that (argue),” Justice Alam had said.