A SPECIAL CBI court Thursday discharged Gujarat IPS officer R K Pandian, an accused in the encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi.
Pandian was discharged on a technical ground as the CBI did not seek sanction to prosecute him.
Pandian is the twelfth accused to be discharged in the case, including BJP president and then Gujarat home minister Amit Shah. Last week, another Gujarat police officer, Narendra Amin, was discharged from case.
Pandian was the superintendent of police, Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad at the time of the allegedly fake encounter in 2005. The encounter was allegedly carried out by a team of officers from the Gujarat ATS and the Special Task Force, Rajasthan.
Pandian was allegedly involved in the abduction of the couple and part of the team that allegedly conspired to kill Sohrabuddin and his wife.
Pandian was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and various other charges under the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.
He was arrested in 2007 and had remained behind bars till 2014 when the Supreme Court granted him bail. He had argued that there was no direct evidence linking him to the offence and that the CBI probe suffered from serious ‘infirmities’. The court discharging Pandian would come as a big blow to the prosecution’s case with most high-ranking officials, except DG Vanzara, now discharged from the case.