Former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, arrested in connection with the 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, is an accused in an extortion racket, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told a court on Monday while seeking 10 days custody. The court will give its order on the plea Aug 4.
Special CBI court Judge AI Raval reserved his order on the investigating agency's custody plea till Wednesday after hearing its counsel KTS Tulsi and Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Shah, in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Seeking Shah's custody, Tulsi said two witnesses to the staged shootout killing of Sheikh have already been killed and Shah's involvement in it has come to the fore.
He said the CBI had presumed that as a former minister of state for home Shah would cooperate in the investigations by answering the questions put to him during his judicial custody but this has not happened.
"He is the prime accused in the extortion racket which prima facie has the involvement of state government personnel, police officers and other criminals," Tulsi said.
"Four witnesses have testified before the CBI that people were being threatened with Prevention of Anti-social Activities Act (PASA) detention and even threatened for ransom," he said.
Tulsi also made it clear that the CBI has not sought the trial to be shifted out of Gujarat. "We are just interested in a free and fair trial," he argued.
Jethmalani, on the other hand, said that though his client was not given a copy of the chargesheet, it was available with the media.
He argued that the CBI had been given three days for questioning Shah but it was not able to fully utilise it and was now seeking additional time.