A CBI special court in Mumbai rejected an application moved by an Andhra Pradesh (AP) police inspector seeking discharge from the fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati. The court, while refusing to grant him relief, issued notice for framing of charges, a procedure before the beginning of trial, on July 6. Special judge M B Gosavi rejected the discharge application of police inspector Ghattamaneni Srinivasa Rao, posted in Prakasham district of AP. Rao was chargesheeted by CBI for taking part in the abduction of the trio, keeping them in illegal confinement and eventually killing them.
Rao is accused of escorting the Gujarat police team from Hyderabad to Gujarat in November 2005, days before killings of Sohrabuddin and his wife. CBI probe established that a year later, Tulsiram was also killed in a fake encounter.
He was then working as Sub-Inspector of Police (PSI) at Singarayakonda police station in Prakasham. Key accused IPS officer of Gujarat cadre Rajkumar Pandian, then posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), ATS, had gone to Hyderabad to nab Sohrabuddin.
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The CBI chargesheet claims that Pandian tracked Sohrabuddin who was abducted from Sangli, along with Kauser Bi and Tulsi.
The CBI has alleged that accused N Bala Subramaniam, Inspector General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, directed Rao to accompany Pandian from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad. Subramaniam has sought discharge from the case, claiming innocence.
The case is pending with the court.
Rao unofficially escorted Pandian and others from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad after abducting Sohrabuddin and others. CBI has alleged that Rao knew that “Sohrabuddin was being taken in illegal custody to be killed in fake encounter”. The CBI finding is supported by two eye witnesses who were part of the Gujarat police team and phone call records.
In the order pronounced last week, the judge held that Rao “did not offer any plausible explanation about the evidence which appears against him. Hence, I hold that prosecution has made out prima facie, a strong case to frame charges against the accused.”
Earlier in this case, out of a total of 38 accused, BJP president Amit Shah, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Katariya, marble trader Vimal Patni, IPS officer Geetha Johri, ex-DGP P C Pande, among others, were discharged from the case.