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Amit Shah falsely implicated, argues Jethmalani

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani on Wednesday argued that the former Gujarat Home Minister, Amit Shah, was falsely implicated in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in a bid to “destabilise the Narendra Modi government.”

Making this submission before the Supreme Court, he said the Central Bureau of Investigation went to the extent of describing Mr. Shah as the head of a “crime syndicate” and that the crime was the result of an extortion racket. The CBI officers should be prosecuted and jailed for making such an allegation without evidence, counsel told a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai, which is hearing final arguments on the agency's petition for cancellation of bail to Mr. Shah and for transfer of the Sohrabuddin case outside Gujarat.

(Sohrabuddin, along with his wife Kausarbi, was travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra on November 23, 2005, when he was taken away by an Anti-Terror Squad of the Gujarat police. Three days later, he was killed in a staged encounter near Ahmedabad. Separately, his wife was taken to a farmhouse outside Ahmedabad and was also slain.)

Criticising the “dishonesty” of the CBI in not investigating the role of the Andhra Pradesh police as the Centre had a Congress government in that State , Mr. Jethmalani said the agency's attempt was only to discredit the Gujarat police, who had done a thorough probe and filed a charge sheet.

Mr. Jethmalani cited documents to show that the CBI was not able to produce evidence that Mr. Shah had any role in the case, and said the Gujarat High Court had rightly granted bail holding that there was no prima facie evidence against him. In granting bail, the High Court was the final authority and there was no urgency for the Supreme Court to hold a sitting in the residence of a judge for cancelling the bail in October 2010.

The High Court finding that there was no prima facie evidence against Mr. Shah was withheld and suppressed by the CBI while seeking bail cancellation, counsel said.

CBI has ‘lost credibility'

Mr. Jethmalani said the CBI completely lost its credibility, thanks to the way it had conducted investigations in cases involving either a political stake or in which the Central government was politically interested. The CBI filed a charge sheet against Mr. Shah without questioning him even once, counsel said. When Justice Alam wanted to know whether it was a correct statement, he said “Yes. Mr. Shah was not questioned even once.”

Prima facie guilty

Mr. Jethmalani said Sohrabuddin was in fact tracked by the Intelligence Bureau and the Andhra police also had a role in the encounter. Balwinder Singh, heading the CBI investigation of the Sohrabuddin case, was prima facie guilty of suppressing information from the Gujarat police the names of five Andhra Pradesh policemen. Therefore, the entire probe was tainted.

Recused

Mr. Jethmalani also faulted Justice Tarun Chatterjee (since retired), who presided over a Bench along with Justice Alam when the CBI probe was ordered into the Sohrabuddin case. Justice Chatterjee ought to have recused himself from hearing the case, as he himself was facing a probe in the Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam. He was given a clean chit after the CBI probe was ordered in the Sohrabuddin case, counsel alleged.

Arguments will continue on Thursday.




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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 10:15:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Amit-Shah-falsely-implicated-argues-Jethmalani/article13487909.ece

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