A city-based lawyers’ association today filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court against the CBI’s decision not to challenge a lower court order discharging BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case. The Bombay Lawyers Association, which filed the public interest litigation, termed as “illegal, arbitrary and malafide” the CBI’s decision not to challenge the December 30, 2014 order passed by a court here discharging Shah.
The PIL urged the high court to issue a direction to the CBI to file a revision application challenging the sessions court’s order discharging Shah.
The petitioner’s lawyer Ahmad Abidi said the plea would be mentioned before a division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre on January 22.
“The CBI is a premier investigating agency. It has public duty to observe the rule of law in its action but it has miserably failed,” the petition said.
It submitted that the trial court had similarly discharged two Rajasthan Police sub-inspectors, Himanshu Singh and Shyam Singh Charan, and senior Gujarat police officer N K Amin in the case.
“The petitioner has learnt that the CBI has challenged their discharge before the high court. This act of the CBI in challenging discharge of the accused persons on selective basis is arbitrary and unreasonable, rather malafide,” the petition said.
It also claimed that the Supreme Court, while transferring the trial in the case from Gujarat to Mumbai, had ordered that it be concluded expeditiously. “The Supreme Court had said the Administrative Committee of the high court would assign the case to a court where the trial may be concluded judiciously, in accordance with the law, and without any delay.
“The Administrative Committee would also ensure that the trial should be conducted from beginning to end by the same officer, the apex court had said in its order,” it said.
In a related development, another judge of the high court today issued notices to the CBI and the accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh case on two petitions filed by journalists against the trial court’s ban on the reporting the proceedings.
Justice Revati Mohite-Dere will hear the petitions on January 23. The trial court had issued the gag order after defence lawyers referred to “misreporting” about the death of judge B H Loya who had dealt with the case earlier, and raised security concerns.
The CBI today told the high court that its stand on the issue was “neutral”.
Gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, who the Gujarat police claimed was also a terrorist, was killed in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in 2005. His wife Kausar Bi disappeared, and was alleged to have been eliminated by police. Shaikh’s associate Tulsi Prajapati was also later killed in an alleged fake encounter.
The CBI took over the probe in February 2010 and filed charge sheet in July the same year against 23 accused, including Amit Shah, who at that time was the minister of state for home in Gujarat.
The trial court, over a period of time, discharged several accused in the case, including Shah and three IPS officers.
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