Bench reserves order on CBI’s plea

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved the verdict on a plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation that sought the cancellation of the bail granted by the Gujarat High Court to the former Gujarat Minister, Amit Shah, an accused in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ms. Ranjana Desai reserved order at the conclusion of arguments from senior counsel Vivek Tanka, for the CBI, senior counsel Gopal Subramanian, who assisted the court as amicus curiae and senior counsel Ram Jethmalani for Mr. Shah.

To a question from Justice Alam as to what assurance he could give on behalf of Mr. Shah for continuance of the bail, Mr. Jethmalani said: “I will ask Mr. Shah to give a written undertaking that he will not tamper with evidence in any manner.” When Justice Alam told counsel “this is not enough,” Mr. Jethmalani said “you can cancel the bail, if there is violation of the undertaking. I will be the first person to argue against him if he violates the undertaking. What else I can say.”

He said considering the fact that elections were round the corner in Gujarat, the presence of Mr. Shah in the State was essential. Though he would prefer Maharashtra, he said the trial could be shifted to any court in India.

When Gujarat Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta opposed the transfer of the case outside the State, Justice Alam told him “from the beginning you [Gujarat government] have been adopting adversarial attitude in this case. Sometimes adversarial attitude turns into hostile attitude. Here is a prima facie case in which three persons were killed in cold blood and we said the matter needs to be investigated. More than once we said the State should have shown anxiety to come to the bottom of the things. Why should it happen in Gujarat and not anywhere in the country?” said Justice Alam, expressing his anguish over the State government’s attitude.

Earlier, Mr. Tanka cited 15 reasons and urged the court to cancel Mr. Shah’s bail. He said being a politically influential person, he would tamper with evidence in the case if he remained on bail. The CBI had explained Mr. Shah’s role in the murder of Tulsiram Prajapathi, in which charge sheet was filed two days ago. Considering the complicity of the whole State machinery, the bail should be cancelled, he said.

Mr. Gopal Subramanium also wanted the court to cancel the bail and shift the trial outside Gujarat.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 10:17:49 PM |

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