Sohrabuddin case: Unmask the actors

There is a manifest hint of murky stuff happening behind thescenes in the details of the Special CBI court judgment on the alleged fakeencounter killings of purported gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Biand his aide Tulsi Prajapati delivered this week in an incident that dates backto 2005. In a sensational twist to the judgment that resulted in the acquittalof all the 22 accused in the case recently, Judge Sharma has found a“pre-conceived and premeditated” bid to implicate political leaders.

The court acquitted the accused due to insufficient evidenceand expressed sorrow over the loss of “three lives”. In his order,Judge SJ Sharma said his predecessor (Judge MB Gosavi) while passing an orderof discharge in the application of accused number 16 (BJP president Amit Shah)recorded that the investigation which was entrusted to the CBI at that stagewas “politically motivated”. The order said the CBI, during its probeinto the case, was doing something other than arriving at the truth of theoffences inquestion. At whose instance was Amit Shah implicated has not beenspelt out but the government of the time was the Manmohan Singh-led UPAgovernment. Amit Shah was arrested in the case in July 2010, but released onbail by Gujarat High Court in October 2010. He was discharged by CBI court inDecember 2014. In his judgment, Judge Sharma said CBI created evidence andplaced witness statements in the chargesheet.” That of the 212 witnesses, asmany as 92 turned hostile strengthens suspicion that they weretutored.”…the CBI thus implicated police personnel who had no knowledgeof any conspiracy…rather they appeared innocent,” the court said. TheCBI had charged 38 persons, including Amit Shah, who was then Gujarat homeminister, Gulabchand Kataria, the then Rajasthan home minister, and seniorGujarat IPS officers like DG Vanzara and P C Pande. Before the recent verdict,16 people, including Shah, Kataria, Vanzara and Pande were discharged by theCBI court due to lack of evidence.

The order said there was no evidence to prove CBI’s theorythat the three deceased were abducted by a police team. “The CBI had alsofailed to establish presence of the accused police personnel at the spot of thealleged incident,” the order said, adding that no witness was examined toshow that the policemen were issued service weapons. Of the 22 accused, 21 werejunior police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan, who the CBI said were partof teams which abducted and killed the three in staged encounters. The courtsaid there was nothing to show if service weapons of the accused policemen wereused in the killings. Indeed, the purported attempt to implicate politicalleaders cannot be dismissed lightly. It needs to be probed further and theactors behind the drama need to be unmasked. If there was a conspiracy tofalsely involve rival political leaders, action needs to be taken against thepolitical masters.

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