CBI grills Shah, suspects extortion
The Central Bureau of Investigation began questioning Amit Shah, aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former junior home minister, inside Sabarmati central jail here on Wednesday. HT reports.india Updated: Jul 28, 2010 23:13 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation began questioning Amit Shah, aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former junior home minister, inside Sabarmati central jail here on Wednesday.
Shah is one of the 15 accused in the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and killing of Sheikh's wife Kauser Bi in 2005.
Charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, extortion and destruction of evidence, Shah surrendered before the CBI on July 25 and was produced before a magistrate, who sent him to 14 days' judicial custody.
The questioning was filmed by the agency according to a court directive.
A senior CBI official said: "The court has permitted the agency to interrogate the accused from July 28 to 30."
The CBI chargesheet against Shah claims that extortion was the main motive behind the kidnapping and subsequent killing of Sohrabuddin with the blessings of Shah.
This contradicts the state Criminal Investigation Department's earlier claim that the police officials indulged in murder for "name and fame".
Although the grilling of Shah may have been conducted on those lines, the CBI official said, "I cannot disclose details of interrogation but we broadly asked him about Sohrabuddin's encounter and Kauser Bi's killing."
Sheikh, Kauser Bi and a third person, Tulsi Prajapati, were picked up by a joint team of Gujarat and Rajasthan police in Andhra Pradesh on November 24, 2005 and were taken to a farmhouse owned by a BJP corporator Rajesh Jirawala.
On November 26, Sheikh was killed in a staged encounter, while Kauser Bi was eliminated a few days later. Prajapati was also killed in a false encounter about a year later.
The CBI also conducted sting operations on Shah's two associates, Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasama, who were filmed threatening and tutoring witnesses while spilling the beans on the murders.
The CBI is planning to seek police custody of Shah for further grilling.
"We will seek his police custody at a later stage," said an official.