New Delhi: In a huge relief to BJP chief Amit Shah, a special CBI court in Mumbai acquitted him in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
Shah had filed an appeal seeking discharge in the fake encounter case relating to killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati who was the witness in the case.
"I am of the opinion that the inference drawn by CBI is not accepted in totality and he (Shah) cannot be charged as an accused," Special CBI Judge M B Gosavi said in a brief order pronounced in the court.
Details of the judgement will be available later.
The CBI had charged Shah, the then Minister of State for Home in Gujarat, as an accused in the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, who was said to have been an eyewitness to the encounter.
The CBI had cited some telephone calls between Shah and two other accused in its case against Shah.
10 quick facts about the Sohrabuddin encounter case:
- CBI chargesheet says the Gujarat police’s anti-terrorism squad kidnapped Sohrabuddin from a bus and killed him on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in November 2005. Kauser Bi and Tulsi Prajapati too were killed within days.
- The CBI has alleged that he was the “kingpin” of the conspiracy in the case.
- The deaths of small-time gangster Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and the eyewitness to their murder, Sohrabuddin associate Tulsiram Prajapati — have been in the public domain for several years. Prajapati was killed in 2006.
- According to the chargesheet, in 2004, Sohrabuddin called up the owners of RK Marbles and Sangram Textiles in Bhilwara and demanded huge sums of money. The two businessmen approached senior Rajasthan BJP politicians, who contacted Shah. Shah entrusted the job of killing Sohrabuddin to anti-terrorism squad chief D.G. Vanzara, Abhay Chudasama and Rajkumar Pandian. Chudasama was Shah’s link to Sohrabuddin and Prajapati and knew the gangsters well.
- Raman Patel and Dashrat Patel, owners of construction company Popular Builders, had told the CBI that Amit Shah was trying to “threaten or influence witnesses”. Prior to killing Sohrabuddin, the Gujarat police had stage-managed a shootout at the office of Popular Builder so they could lodge an FIR against the gangster.
- Ajay Patel had allegedly told Raman and Dashrat that whatever they would say before the CBI would be provided to them by Ahmedabad deputy commissioner of police Abhay Chudasama.
- IPS top cop DG Vanzara, who once headed Gujarat’s anti-terror squad, and two other IPS officers face charges of staging the encounter.
- Amit Shah was arrested in July 2010 & jailed in the case. He stepped down as Gujarat’s Home Minister. Shah got bail three months later. He wasn’t allowed to travel to Gujarat and for almost two years he was living in Delhi.
- CBI had urged the apex court to transfer the trial outside Gujarat arguing that witnesses were being intimidated and the trial could not be held in a free and fair manner. The case was shifted to Mumbai in 2012.
- In September 2013, the CBI had chargesheeted Shah and 18 others, including several police officers. Shah was charged with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and offences under the Arms Act.