The special court in Mumbai on Friday sent the nine accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case to the Jail in Mumbai, refusing their plea to send them back to Gujarat, citing a possibility of assassination by banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Followed by the court order, the accused were first taken to Arthur
Road jail in Mumbai. The Arthur road jail official however, refused to take them due to inadequate space and security threat. They were then taken to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.
The case against the accused, including three suspended IPS officers DG Vanzara, MN Dinesh and RK Pandian, has been transferred to Mumbai following Supreme Court order to shift the case to Mumbai from Gujarat. Out of 11 accused police officers who are under the judicial custody two officers namely, IPS officer Abhay Chudasama and DSP Narendra Amin could not come to Mumbai due to ill health.
The application filed by the State of Gujarat counsel SN Raj along with senior counsel Adhik Shirodkar to the additional chief metropolitan magistrate court argued that, the state of Gujarat has received reliable information from the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Mumbai and from Multi Agency Centre (MAC) that there is imminent threat and danger to the life and safety of the accused above at Mumbai.
“The Additional Chief Secretary, Gujarat and DGP, Gujarat have also intimated the Additional Chief Secretary, Maharashtra and DGP, Maharashtra about the imminent threat and danger to the life and safety of the accused at Mumbai due to possibility of attacks by SIMI activists and that they have planned to attack the accused at Mumbai,” said the application filed the state of Gujarat.
It was also argued that the court proceedings could be conducted via video conferencing instead of producing the accused in the court, considering imminent danger and threat to the life and safety of the accused.
While advocate for Mr. Vanzara argued that he had been provided ‘Z’ security and if he is transferred to Mumbai the security given by
Gujarat government would be withdrawn, the CBI objected the application stating that Gujarat government has no locus standi and the court may direct the jail to provide them proper security.
AA Khan, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, refused the pleas of the defence and ordered all nine accused to be transferred to the jail in Mumbai. He has also asked the jail authorities to submit the report about the security of the jails and whether adequate measures can be taken to keep the accused. The report will be submitted on November 26. Depending on the report, the court will decide on the further stay of the accused. The next hearing of the case will be on December 7. Along with accused cops, former home minister of Gujarat Amit Shaha, who is out on bail, was also present in the Mumbai court on Friday.