CBI could not prove main ingredients of criminal conspiracy: judge

The Gujarat High Court on Monday granted conditional bail to Arham farmhouse owner Rajendra Jeerawala, co-accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi murder case. He is the second person, after the former Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, to have got bail.

Justice Z.K. Saiyed said the role attributed to Jeerawala in the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation was “limited.” The court asked him to stay out of the Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar district limits and furnish a bond for Rs. 1 lakh, besides reporting to the CBI once a month.

Jeerawala was booked by the CBI as a co-conspirator as he owned the farmhouse, where Kausarbi was believed to have been kept for a few days before her murder.

Granting him conditional bail, which was earlier rejected by the special CBI court, Justice Saiyed said the “prosecuting agency could not prove the main ingredients of a criminal conspiracy — agreement and meeting of minds qua the present applicant as per Section 120 (B) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In criminal law, criminal liability also needs to be considered.”

The court observed: “If there is no evidence under Section 120B, then evidence under Section144 and other Sections could be considered. However, the prosecuting agency could not furnish anything on record to show that the applicant had said, done or written anything admitting guilt of the offence.”

Counsel J.M. Panchal claimed that during the period of the alleged confinement of Kausarbi by the Gujarat police in Jeerawala's farmhouse, his client was away, busy with his daughter's wedding, in Mehsana. “Apart from giving the keys of his farmhouse [to the police friends] without any knowledge of its further use by the senior policemen, who are behind bars at present, he was not in any way involved in the case.”

The court raised queries seeking to know the exact status of Jeerawala and whether there was anything to show for his involvement to prove his “criminal liability,” but the CBI counsel could not furnish any other evidence.

Jeerawala was arrested a few days after the arrest of Mr. Shah in July.