The Supreme Court is likely to shift the trial of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case from Gujarat to Maharashtra.
The former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, who is a key accused in this case, is on bail and staying outside the State.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ms. Ranjana Desai on Tuesday gave this indication to senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Mr. Shah.
Justice Alam told counsel, “Trial cannot stay in Gujarat. It may have to go to Maharashtra.” The Bench was hearing petitions from the CBI, seeking transfer of the case and another challenging bail to Mr. Shah.
Earlier, senior counsel Vivek Tanka, appearing for the CBI, said the investigating agency would soon file a charge sheet in the Tulsiram Prajapathi case. Prajapathi was the third witness (in the Sohrabuddin case) who was also killed allegedly in a false encounter. Mr. Tanka said a decision would have to be taken on those who would be charged and that would be done soon.
The Bench asked him to tell the CBI to file a charge sheet as soon as possible. The CBI claimed that it recovered call records to show the involvement of the Andhra Pradesh police in the Sohrabuddin case. They allegedly extended logistical support to the Gujarat police in tracing Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi, who were picked up near Ahmedabad by the ATS.
Senior counsel and amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium drew the court’s attention to the fact that the CBI had not investigated the role of the Andhra Pradesh police. He said: “The CBI probe into the case left much to be desired. Police officers are trying to cover up the murders. Why doesn’t the CBI find out the real truth? Is it a politician-cop nexus?”
He also wondered why the CBI failed to get its hands on any call records, especially when the State had claimed in a lower court that it had all call records relating to the case.
Mr. Tanka replied the CBI had traced at least six to eight Andhra Pradesh IPS officers’ call records and would take a call on them soon.
Mr. Jethmalani urged the court to permit Mr. Shah to go back to Gujarat. “Unfortunately, my client is a politician. Elections are round the corner.”
The Bench agreed to hear his arguments against cancellation of bail and opposing transfer of the case on September 4.