The Supreme Court has dismissed the Gujarat government’s plea to review its order for a CBI probe into the alleged extra-judicial killing of Tulsiram Prajapati,an eyewitness to ‘fake encounter’ case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh,allegedly involving state’s former Home Minister Amit Shah.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan found “no merit” in the state’s review petition,which had contended that no CBI probe could be ordered as the state police has already filed a charge sheet in the case.
The apex court had ordered the CBI probe in April 2011 on an appeal by Tulsiram Prajapati’s mother Narmada Bai,who had alleged that her son was killed by the Gujarat police in a staged gun battle because he was a key eyewitness in the November 2005 killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi.
The apex court said the petitioner had made out a strong case for the transfer of investigation to the CBI as there was strong suspicion about the involvement of police personnel from three states — Andhra Pradesh,Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The bench,however,had clarified that the observations made by it in its judgement should not influence the trial court judge,dealing with the case.
It had also criticised the tardy probe by the Gujarat police into the killings,in which,besides politicians,top police officials too were allegedly involved.
The bench had regretted that the state police took more than three and a half years to file the charge sheet in the case.
The Gujarat government along with its fromer Home Minister Shah had opposed transfer of the case to the CBI,contending that the Centre was trying to implicate the state’s former minister and its Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the encounter killings.
Senior counsel K T S Tulsi,appearing for the CBI and Huzefi Ahamadi,who represented Narmada Bai,had justified the transfer plea saying that the investigation by the Gujarat police was “biased” and Prajapati’s killing was a sequel to the encounter deaths of Sohrabuddin,an alleged extortionist,and his wife.
The CBI had alleged that Sohrabuddin,Kauser Bi and another person,suspected to be Prajapati,were picked up during a team of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh police in a joint operation from a bus on its way to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad on November 22,2005.
Sohrabuddin was allegedly gunned down in an encounter by the Gujarat police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad. The policemen are also accused of killing Kauser Bi and Prajapati to destroy evidence.
The CBI probe into the case had led to Shah’s arrest for his alleged role in the killings of Sohrabuddin and his wife.