The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to arrest Gujarat minister and Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s close aide Amit Shah after he appears for questioning in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case on Friday.
This was stated on condition of anonymity by a top official of the bureau. A member of the CBI probe team also said on Thursday: “We have crucial evidence that suggests the involvement of Shah in the conspiracy to eliminate gangster Sohrabuddin in a staged shootout.”
“He knew of the encounter and also consented to police officials eliminating the gangster,” the official added.
On November 24, 2005, Rajasthan resident Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and a third person, Prajapati Tulsi, were abducted allegedly by the police from a bus stand in Gujarat.
Two days later, Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed by a joint police team from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Kausar Bi was also allegedly killed later but her body was never found.
Tulsi, the sole witness, too was killed in a fake encounter a year later.
In January 2010, the Supreme Court, on a plea by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, handed over the case to the CBI, saying the Gujarat Police were trying to shield those involved in the killing. Two associates of Shah, minister of state for home, have already admitted to the CBI that they were involved in bribing and threatening some witnesses at the minister’s behest.
Besides, evidence gathered by the CBI points to Shah’s involvement– right from hatching the murder plan to pressuring police officials during the investigation, destroying evidence and threatening witnesses, the CBI official said. The evidence includes records of phone calls made by Shah to police officers allegedly involved in Sohrabuddin’s killing before and during the fake encounter.
Shah, who ignored the CBI notice to appear before it on Thursday, later said he would present himself before the agency on Friday.
Shah had virtually gone into hiding for the past four months after his confidant, senior Gujarat police officer Abhay Chudasama, was arrested by the CBI in connection with Tulsi’s murder.