CBI has booked senior BJP leader from Rajasthan Gulab Chand Kataria and three others for murder charges in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case.
Kataria is the second high profile politician to be named in the alleged fake encounter case after former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah,considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Besides Kataria,CBI also charged Andhra Pradesh Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) N Balasubramanyam,Director of R K Marble Vimal Patni and another Andhra Pradesh Police officer G Srinivasa Rao under sections related to murder,kidnapping,wrongful confinement and causing disappearance of evidence among others.
The magisterial court issued summons to Kataria and three others to appear before it after the agency filed the supplementary chargesheet,which runs into 500 pages. They are likely to appear before the court on June 4.
In its 500-page supplementary charge sheet,CBI has alleged Sheikh was “eliminated” for demanding Rs 24 crore from Patni who was introduced to Amit Shah,also an accused in the case,by Kataria,the then Rajasthan Home Minister.
The Supreme Court had last year transferred the trial of Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case to Maharashtra from Gujarat as CBI said witnesses were being intimidated and the trial could not be held in a free and fair manner in Gujarat.
“This is a supplementary charge sheet against accused Vimal Patni,Gulab Chand Kataria,N Balasubramanyam,G Srinivasa Rao filed in continuation of earlier chargesheet… which is already committed…to the Special Court Mumbai on February 1,2013 for offences punishable under section 120-B read with 364,365,368,341,342,302 and 201 of IPC. Accordingly,cognisance is taken for offence punishable under section 120-B read with 364,365,368,341,342,302 and 201 of IPC,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate A A Khan said in his order.
The court also issued summons to the accused and directed them to present before it on June 4,2013.
CBI alleged Kataria was the “link” between Patni and Shah and got Patni introduced to the latter.
According to the agency,Sheikh allegedly demanded Rs 24 core from Patni as “protection money” and it was the prime reason behind his encounter killing.
CBI had earlier said Sheikh allegedly wanted to spread his extortion racket in Rajasthan and in order to get a good hold he sought the protection money.
After coming in contact with Patni,Shah allegedly planned the entire encounter operation with the help of Gujarat police,according to CBI.
CBI has added statements of 40 new witnesses in the supplementary chargesheet. Some of the witnesses had recorded their statements before magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2,2005.
1994-batch IPS officer N Balasubramanyam,was the district SP of Prakasam district when the alleged kidnapping and encounter of Sheikh had happened. Rao was at that time posted as the Inspector at Rajendranagar police station.
It is alleged that both the officers had knowledge about Sheikh’s presence in Hyderbad and tipped off Gujarat police which abucted and killed him in a fake encounter.
The supplementary chargesheet was filed by CBI SP Sandeep Tamgade through special public prosecutor Ejaz Khan.
Shah was the minister of state for Home in Modi Cabinet before he stepped down after his name surfaced in the alleged staged encounter killing.
CBI had filed a chargesheet against 15 accused,including the policemen,some of them IPS officers,in Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in the special CBI court in Ahmedabad in 2010,followed by a supplementary chargesheet naming Shah.