Observing that the charges against BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounters had a political undertone, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here on Tuesday discharged him from the case.
“I found substance in the main contention made by the applicant [Mr. Shah] that he was involved in the case by the CBI for political reasons,” special CBI judge M.B. Gosavi said.
CBI Director Anil Sinha said the agency would study the court order before deciding its further course of action. The BJP termed Mr. Shah’s discharge a “victory of truth and a vindication” of the party’s stand that the Congress had misused the CBI. The Congress accused the BJP of using the CBI as the hand-maiden of the government. Party spokesman Manu Abhishek Singhvi said the CBI did not present the evidence convincingly.
Prajapati, an eyewitness in the alleged fake encounter killing of Sheikh and his wife, Kauser Bi, in November 2005, was allegedly eliminated by the Gujarat Police in December 2006.
In September 2012, the CBI filed a charge sheet in a Gujarat court against 37 accused, including Mr. Shah; the former Superintendent of Police, Anti-terrorism Squad, Ahmedabad, Rajkumar Pandiyan; the then Inspector-General of Police (CID), Geetha Johri; and former IPS officer D.G. Vanzara under sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
In February this year, Mr. Shah filed a discharge application, saying the case against him was politically motivated.
Nov 23, 2005: Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad picks up alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, wife Kauser Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati
Nov 26: Sohrabuddin killed in a fake encounter
Nov 28: Kauser Bi killed
Dec 28, 2006: Prajapati killed in Chapri village
Jan 12, 2010: Supreme Court hands over case to CBI
July 23: CBI chargesheets Amit Shah as prime accused
July 25: CBI arrests Shah
Oct 29: Gujrata HC grants bail
Sept 27, 2012: Sc transfers trial from Gujarat to Mumbai
April 8, 2013: SC clubs Prajapati case with Sohrabuddin case
Charges: Murder, criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, kidnapping and abducting to murder, extortion and destruction of evidence.