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Updated: July 28, 2010 02:23 IST

Farmhouse owner held in Sohrabuddin case

Manas Dasgupta
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Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. File photo
Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. File photo

The hearing on the application of the suspended deputy superintendent of police, Narendra Amin, for permission to turn approver in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi case, has been postponed to August 3.

The application was scheduled to come up for hearing in the special CBI court of A.I. Raval on Tuesday but due to the sudden demise of the father of Mr. Amin’s advocate, the hearing was deferred till August 3. Eight of the accused police officials, including the principal accused — the former DIG, D.G. Vanzara, have also filed an application in the court taking strong objection to Mr. Amin turning an approver.

The court, however, rejected Mr. Amin’s plea for his transfer to some other jail. Mr. Amin said all the accused in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi case were lodged in the Sabarmati central jail and he was facing threat to his life.

The court ordered the jail authorities to lodge Mr. Amin separately and tighten his personal security to prevent any attack.

The CBI, meanwhile, made one more arrest, picking up the owner of the Arham farm house near Gandhinagar, where the police believe Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi were lodged for a few days after they were brought from Hyderabad. They also believe that Kausarbi was killed in the same farm house before her body was taken to Illol, the native village of Mr. Vanzara. There it was burnt and the ashes and bones washed away in the Narmada river near Broach.

The owner of the farm house, Rajendra Jirawala, the brother of a BJP member of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, however, reportedly told the CBI that during the period in question, their entire family was away in Mehsana to attend a marriage and he had no idea if anything had transpired in the farm house.

The CBI produced Jirawala in court and sought a seven-day remand but its plea was rejected. The court also rejected Jirawala’s bail plea moved immediately after he was shown on record as arrested. It maintained that since he was accused in a murder case, bail could not be granted, but it also did not accept the remand plea on the ground that he was only a “fringe accused” and there was no need for questioning at this stage. The court agreed to consider the plea of the CBI for permission to question Jirawala in jail as and when required.

As directed by the court on Monday, the CBI on Tuesday made copies of the charge sheet available to all the accused, including the former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, who would have to face interrogation from the CBI inside his jail barrack from Wednesday.

In Gandhinagar, Chief Minister Narendra Modi distributed the portfolios held by Mr. Shah to other members of his Cabinet. Mr. Shah’s transport portfolio has been handed over to Finance Minister and number two in the Cabinet Vajubhai Vala, while the jail, law and judiciary and parliamentary affairs ministry will be looked after by Agriculture Minister Dillip Sanghani.

The remaining smaller departments had been allocated to Minister of State for Water Supply Parbatbhai Patel. Mr. Modi, who himself was holding the home portfolio at the Cabinet level, has not taken any junior minister to assist him in the department in place of Mr. Shah.

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