The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday rejected applications seeking extension of anticipatory bail to two accused persons in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi murder case.

Rejecting the pleas of Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasma, chairman and director of the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank, Justice Anant Dave said they were co-accused in a serious crime and the investigating authorities needed to question them.Both of them were initially “absconding” and later secured anticipatory bail. The CBI issued arrest warrants against them in July, accusing them of working hand in glove with the former Minister, Amit Shah, in running an extortion racket and browbeating key witnesses. Their plea for extension of anticipatory bail was earlier rejected by the Special CBI court.

Illegal mining case

In another case, the High Court asked the Principal Secretary, Mines and Minerals Department to appear before it to explain ‘inaction' on the part of the government in checking illegal mining, particularly near the Gir Asiatic Lion sanctuary, despite its earlier directives. A Division Bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyaya and Justice K.M. Thaker issued the order after the government counsel submitted an affidavit of the Principal Secretary, claiming that the government had formed a task force to monitor incidents of illegal mining.

Dissatisfied with the affidavit in view of the court's earlier directive to the government to specify what roles the Collectors and District Revenue Officers played in checking illegal mining, the Bench directed the Principal Secretary to appear in person. The court earlier told the government to take “strict action against the police, Collectors and other responsible officers for their inaction. “Suspend them and impose fines on them if necessary as they could also be held responsible,” the Chief Justice had said.

On the affidavit, the court said that despite its earlier directives the government failed to take action against the Collector, police officers and others in the Gir sanctuary area.

The public interest litigation petition against illegal mining, particularly in and around the Gir sanctuary was filed by RTI activist Amit Jethwa before he was gunned down in front of the High Court a couple of months ago, allegedly by goons indulging in illegal mining.