A special CBI court Wednesday dropped the prosecution charges against former Gujarat director general police P C Pande for want of the state government’s sanction to make him stand trial for being accused of delaying the investigation in the alleged fake encounter case of Tulsiram Prajapati.
Special Judge M B Gosavi observed, “The prosecution against accused no. 35 (P C Pande) stands dropped for want of sanction under section 197 CrPC. He is set at liberty.”
As per the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the prosecution is required to secure a sanction from the state government to prosecute a public servant while discharging his official duties.
The court had last month discharged BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Prajapati cases, holding that there existed “no case” against him and that he could have been implicated for “political reasons”.
Pande was booked for allegedly protecting the accused in the case by delaying the investigation procedure. Pande had allegedly changed the Investigating Officer, Geeta Johri, also an accused in the case, and appointed another officer, Rajesh Rai.
Pande’s counsel S V Raju said, “We argued that Pande was only discharging his official duty and to prosecute him mandatory sanction from the government must be obtained.” “While allowing our application, the court observed that Pande was doing his regular work and has nothing to do with facilitating the accused,” Pande’s advocate Sachin Pawar said. The court is yet to pass orders on similar applications seeking sanction for prosecution of two more accused, including Johri and Dr Vipul Aggarwal.
According to the CBI, gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad when they were on way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005. Prajapati, who was a key witness of the alleged encounter, was killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat in December 2006.