Even as the CBI told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that former Gujarat minister Amit Shah was heading an extortion racket having politician-police-criminal nexus, his counsel Ram Jethmalani said this was an attempt to target Chief Minister Narendra Modi's government.
"Amit Shah was the head of the extortion racket involving politicians, police and criminals," the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan.
Taking umbrage to Shah being described as the head of an extortion gang, senior counsel Jethmalani said: "It hurts my client (Amit Shah). He is democratically elected."
"There are so many people who get elected," retorted senior counsel KTS Tulsi appearing for the CBI.
Jethmalani said that the targeting of Shah was part of a conspiracy between the CBI and politicians.
"The conspiracy came into existence between the CBI and certain politicians and the target is the democratically elected government of Gujarat which is the thorn in the flesh of the centre. The idea was first to get the home minister Amit Shah and then reach for Chief Minister Modi."
The court was hearing a petition by Narmada Bai seeking investigation by the CBI into the allegedly staged shootout killing of her son Tulsiram Prajapati. She has also pleaded the transfer of trial in the case to Mumbai.
The court was told that the 2005 staged shootout killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, the subsequent mysterious disappearance of his wife Kausarbi and the killing of Prajapati were part of the conspiracy and the same transaction (crime). Thus, there could not be two separate investigations and trials in the case.
The court was told that Gujarat Police were trying to project them as two independent cases, unrelated to each other.
"Two conflicting reports and charge sheets of the same transaction (crime) will destroy each other," Tulsi told the court.
"The truth or otherwise of the investigation (in Tulsiram Prajapati case) will be found out in the course of the trial," he said.
Tulsi told the court that the acquittal of the accused in Tulsiram Prajapati case would ensure that there was no conviction in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.
"If Tulsiram Prajapati case ends in acquittal, then there is no way that Sohrabuddin Sheikh case would end in conviction," the court was told.
Prajapati's killing was a "deliberate attempt to destroy human witness", Tulsi told the court.
Rebutting the CBI plea, Jethmalani told the court that there was no evidence in the possession of the investigating agency against Shah and this was evident from June 29, 2010 letter of the investigating officer to CBI director which said that unless Shah was arrested it would be difficult to garner evidence against him.
The senior counsel said that the CBI has lied to the apex court about the identity of the third person who allegedly travelled with Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi Nov 23, 2005 from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra.
Pointing to the criminal background of Sohrabuddin and Prajapati, Jethmalani told the court that he was not suggesting that those who can't be, otherwise, brought to law should be done away with.
Appearing for Narmada Bai, counsel Huzefa Ahmadi told the court that the cold-blooded staged shootout killing of Prajapati and Sohrabuddin and disappearance of Kausarbi were inter-connected and its investigation should be handed over to the CBI.
Ahmadi said "my genuine desire is that there should be a fair trial and investigation" and the same can happen only if the investigation was taken over by the CBI and the trial was held in Mumbai.
He said that besides Shah some senior officers of Gujarat Police were involved in the case.