The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to suspended Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian, who was jailed in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
A Bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi noted that Pandian had been in judicial custody for around seven years now and the co-accused have already been granted bail.
The court also transferred the trial of the case to a court in Mumbai. The bench asked Pandian to appear before the trial court whenever directed and not to threaten witnesses or try to influence the case in any manner.
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The CBI said it will approach the court if Pandian breaches any of the bail conditions. Pandian had moved the apex court after the Bombay High Court on November 20 rejected his bail application. The CBI had opposed the bail application in the high court saying that the police officer is a key accused who had picked up the duo from Hyderabad before they were killed in the alleged fake encounter.
Pandian, along with IPS officer Abhay Chudasama, Rajasthan cadre IPS officer Dinesh M N and other low-rank policemen are lodged in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai after the Supreme Court transferred the trial in the case to Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
The other accused IPS officer, D G Vanzara, was brought back to Ahmedabad in connection with the case of alleged encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others remain lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail. Former Minister of State for Home and BJP leader Amit Shah, who is out on bail, is also an accused in the case.
Sheikh and his wife were allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a suspected fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.