The CBI on Tuesday sought lifting of stay on criminal proceedings against former state Home Minister Amit Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case in the Supreme Court which said it cannot pass the order without hearing the parties.
“We cannot vacate the stay. Let us hear the petition,” a bench comprising justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan said, while deciding to hear from January 15 onwards the CBI plea and other applications connected with the case.
“No purpose will be served in vacating the stay,” the bench further said. Shah’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi said the matter has come before the court, a day before his client (Mr. Shah) is going to file his nomination paper for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections.
CBI advocate Vivek Tankha said because of the stay in the Prajapati case, the trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case has also come to a halt, though both the cases were the result of different transactions.
The Supreme Court had on October 18 stayed further proceedings against Mr. Shah in Prajapati fake encounter case and had sought response from the CBI on his plea contending that Prajapati murder case is part of Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s fake encounter case and they should be heard together.
When the matter came for hearing, the CBI said it has already filed its response but Gujarat Government and Shah’s counsel replied that they have not been supplied with the copies of the affidavit.
During the hearing, the bench said CBI was actually seeking vacation of stay in the Prajapati case. Mr. Shah had argued there was no need for a separate FIR in the Prajapati case as the case came to light during the CBI probe into the Sohrabuddin’s fake encounter case.
Mr. Shah had submitted that the charge sheet filed in the Prajapati murder case should be treated as second supplementary charge sheet in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s murder case.
The CBI, in its charge sheet filed on September 29 in the 2006 Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case, has named Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and 19 others.
The charge sheet has accused them of committing offences of murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence etc. The special court, while accepting the charge sheet, had kept the issue of taking its cognisance pending.
Mr. Shah, who is also the prime accused in killings of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi, has been named accused number one and the kingpin of the conspiracy in the fake encounter case of Prajapati, who was killed near Chhapri village near Danta in Palanpur on December 28, 2006.
The CBI has said Prajapati was a witness in the Sohrabuddin case and his killing was part of a larger conspiracy in which Mr. Shah, as the then head of the state’s police administration, was involved.
Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.
Prajapati, said to be a Sohrabuddin’s accomplice, was also subsequently eliminated by ATS because he was an eye witness to the couple’s killings, the CBI had said.
Mr. Shah, was arrested by the CBI on July 25, 2010 and had spent over three months in Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad. He had to quit the Modi government in July last year after having been slapped with kidnapping and murder charges in the fake encounter killing.