A special court has rejected the discharge applications filed by two police officials accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case on Wednesday. Balkrishna Chaubey, then police sub-inspector of Gujarat, and Kartarsingh Jat, head constable of Rajasthan police, had sought discharge from the case after their previous pleas were rejected by the court.
The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court is likely to frame charges against the 23 accused during the next hearing. On Wednesday, while all advocates had been instructed to inform the accused to attend the court for framing of charges, the hearing was adjourned as most accused could not reach the city due to the rain.
On August 1, the court had discharged then Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad chief D G Vanzara and Rajasthan-cadre IPS officer Dinesh M N. Subsequently, five of the accused sought discharge again before the special court on grounds of parity with the two. This week, the court also rejected the discharge applications filed by Gujarat police personnel Santaram Sharma, Naransinh Dhabi and Ajay Parmar. The men had argued that the court could not have taken cognisance of the offence against them without sanction from the state government.
The court observed that there was material on record to establish the involvement of these accused in the alleged conspiracy of the abduction and killing of Sohrabuddin. “…The evidence does not disclose that killing of Sohrabuddin was an act which was essential for the accused and other police officers in discharge of their duty as public servant.
To my mind, it does not fall within the ambit of discharge of his duty of a public servant and therefore sanction for his prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code was not necessary,” the court said. The court has also said that the accused cannot claim the rule of parity with Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and NK Amin, who were discharged since there was “no sufficient evidence” against the three.
The CBI had alleged that Sohrabuddin was killed in a staged encounter by a team of Gujarat and Rajasthan police in November 2005. Subsequently, the CBI claimed Sohrabuddin’s wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati were also killed.