Probe Prajapati case: SC to CBI
Rejecting Narendra Modi government’s opposition to a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati, said to be an eyewitness to Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s killing by the Gujarat police, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the central investigating agency to take over the probe.delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2011 01:43 IST
Rejecting Narendra Modi government’s opposition to a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati, said to be an eyewitness to Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s killing by the Gujarat police, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the central investigating agency to take over the probe.
The order spells fresh trouble for former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah who is already facing a CBI probe in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Shah in October 2010 and he was later arrested. Shah was later released on bail. The CBI has already moved the apex court against his release on bail and has also sought the transfer of the case outside Gujarat.
Asking the CBI to take charge of the Prajapati case, a bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan dismissed the state’s claim that the probe could not be transferred as its police had already filed a final report in the case. The SC also criticised the tardy investigations conducted by the Gujarat police into the killings in which, besides politicians, top officials were also involved. The bench regretted that the police took more than three-and-a-half years to file the chargesheet after the killings.
Allowing the appeal for Prajapati’s mother, Narmada Bai, the bench directed the CBI to complete its probe within six months and asked it to take action as per the law. However, the bench clarified that the court’s observation in the judgment should not have any influence on the trial judge dealing with the case.
After the Supreme Court’s order, Shah faces arrest in the Prajapati case. During the course of hearing, the CBI had contended that Shah was at the centre of a conspiracy to get Prajapati eliminated in a staged shootout. A CBI official said, “The agency has got the case as per the Supreme Court order so we will register a fresh FIR and commence the probe.”
However, sources said the CBI may nab Shah after getting case papers and details from Gujarat police. The CBI’s stated position since beginning has been that the Prajapati case was linked to the Sohrabuddin case.