Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sohrabuddin trial likely to be shifted to Maharashtra

SC Expresses Strong Reservations About Trial In Gujarat 

Gujarat EDN
TOI 29AUG2012


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed “strong reservation” on Sohrabuddin fake encounter case trial continuing in Gujarat after accused and former minister Amit Shah cited the approaching assembly elections to seek reversal of the two-yearold bail condition barring his entry into the state.
    Given the list of accused in the case which includes former senior police officers D G Vanzara, Raj Kumar Pandian and Dinesh M N, the court had scrupulously monitored investigations into the case even after entrusting it to CBI on finding lapses in the probe by the state Special Investigation Team.
    A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai said, “So far as trial is concerned, we have strong reservation to continue it in Gujarat. There is a pattern that we see. Preferably it must shift to Maharashtra.”
    The apex court had transferred trials in two post-Godhra riots cases – Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano rape – to Maharashtra from Gujarat after it was alleged that witnesses were being threatened and evidence was being tampered with by the accused. In the Best Bakery case, nine people were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Mumbai court. Earlier, all the accused had been acquitted by a fast track court in Vadodara. The Bilkis Bano case was shifted to Mumbai on the insistence of the CBI and had seen 11 people being sentenced to life imprisonment.
    The SC had granted bail to Amit Shah on October 30, 2010 but asked him to stay away from Gujarat. His counsel Ram Jethmalani said 22 months had passed and his client should be permitted to enter Gujarat as elections were round the corner. He said his client could be placed under CBI surveillance. But the bench said it would not be necessary as it was contemplating shifting the trial to Maharashtra.
    Amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam pointed out gaps in the investigation conducted by CBI. He said the agency had failed to conclusively answer whether the policemen-politician nexus was more “intricate” than what was given to appear in the previous chargesheet.
    He also suggested that the CBI probe whether both Sohrabuddin and Prajapati had become “inconvenient men” for Gujarat police. Subramaniam also requested the court to direct CBI to investigate the allegation that Gujarat police officers were under “intense pressure” while investigating Sohrabuddin and Prajapati fake encounter cases.
CBI to file chargesheet in Tulsiram case
The CBI on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it will file a chargesheet in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case in a couple of days and has taken a stand that elimination of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram are part of the same transaction. The CBI also submitted a status report to the court in a sealed cover. Amicus curiae and senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam wanted the CBI to look into a possible police-politician nexus of a “slightly more intricate nature” in Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapti encounter case. “CBI owes an explanation about this nexus,” he said. He also wanted the investigating agency to find out if Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram had become inconvenient for the Gujarat police.