A Mumbai special court, which gave a clean chit to BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Tulsi Prajapati killings of 2005-6, rapped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for botching up its probe by not submitting key evidence to back up allegations on his role in the conspiracy, including the receipt of an extortion sum of Rs 70 lakh via an aide.
As per the CBI’s chargesheets, it was alleged that Shah’s “close and trusted police officer” Abhay Chudasama — accused number 15 — had allegedly threatened two Ahmedabad-based businessmen brothers Ramanbhai and Dashrathbhai Patel (both prosecution witnesses) at his behest to cough up Rs 1.5 crore to escape getting detained under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities act.
The builders had then allegedly paid Rs 70 lakh as bribe to Shah via another aide, Ajay Patel, charges that were rejected by the court in its December 2014 order, a copy of which HT accessed. At the time of the two alleged fake encounters, Shah was the minister of state for home in the then Gujarat government. Shah’s lawyer had rejected all of the CBI’s allegations against him, saying they were politically motivated.
“Patel brothers state that accused number 17, Ajay Patel, asked them to pay an amount of Rs 1.5 crore out of which they paid Rs 70 lakhs so that they shall not be implicated under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act. However, there is no evidence to show that the applicant-accused (Shah) directly asked and received any amount from them,” said the court.
“There is no evidence brought by the CBI that the proposal of detention of Patel brothers was prepared and was pending for the home minister’s consideration,” the court said. The court also said that the Ajay’s passport’s entries submitted to the court allegedly showed that he was “out of India” on two of the dates when he took the money.
The court rejected CBI’s allegation on Shah threatening the Patel brothers telephonically to give a statement against Sohrabuddin, saying it did not furnish “the actual conversation, phone-call record or accused-applicant (Shah)’s voice sample” to support it.
The court further said, “There is absolutely nothing to show Chudasama was an alleged Shah aide or undertook illegal activities at his behest.”