The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine the bail application of suspended Gujarat India Police Service (IPS) officer Rajkumar Pandiyan challenging his continued detention in the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan, while declining to issue any immediate notice, posted the matter to April 30 after counsel Mahesh Jethmalani submitted that the IPS officer had been languishing in jail for three years.
In his petition filed through counsel Uday Kumar Sagar, the IPS officer, in jail since April 24, 2007, in connection with the killing of Sohrabuddin, his wife and another person, pleaded to be released on bail pending completion of the investigation by the CBI.
According to the petition, even though the Gujarat police had filed the chargesheet in 2007, the proceedings were stayed and the case transferred to the CBI early this year.
Pandiyan submitted that the "belated" transfer of the case to CBI by the apex court had caused prejudice to him, thus affecting his right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Suspended Deputy Inspector General (DIG) D G Vanzara, Rajasthan cadre IPS officer M N Dinesh, along with Pandiyan, are the main accused in the killing of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
Sohrabuddin, along with his wife Kauser Bi and another person, was picked up during a joint operation by the Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh police from a bus on their way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra on November 22, 2005.
He was gunned down allegedly in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police's Anti-Terrorist Squad, which claimed he had come to the city to eliminate Chief Minister Modi.
The accused cops are also alleged to have killed Kauser Bi and their associate Tulsi Ram Prajapati to destroy evidence.