‘Premeditated probe’: Judge’s brutal takedown of CBI in Sohrabuddin case
In his 350-page judgment, the special CBI judge said the CBI was not interested in reaching the truth, but instead to establish a particular theoryindia Updated: Dec 28, 2018 23:56 IST
The entire probe of the purported fake encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his suspected lieutenant Tulsiram Prajapati and murder of Sheikh’s wife, Kausar Bi, was premeditate and politically motivated, aimed at somehow implicating political leaders like Amit Shah, according to special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge SJ Sharma.
Judge Sharma on December 21 acquitted all 22 accused– mostly state-service police personnel and members of the constabulary from Gujarat and Rajasthan -- for want of cogent evidence.
In his 350-page judgment, the special CBI judge said the CBI was not interested in reaching the truth, but instead to establish a particular theory. “I have examined the entire evidence placed before me. Having so examined the entire evidence and having conducted the trial, I have no hesitation in recording that during the investigation of these offences the CBI was doing something other than reaching the truth of these offences,” the judge recorded in this judgement, portions of which were reviewed by Hindustan Times.
“It clearly appears that the CBI was more concerned in establishing a particular pre-conceived and pre-meditated theory, rather than finding out the truth,” the judge ruled, adding, “My predecessor has, while passing an order of discharge of accused number 16 (BJP president Amit Shah), clearly recorded that the investigation was politically motivated.”
According to the CBI, Sheikh was travelling on a Hyderabad-Sangli bus along with his wife Kausar Bi and Prajapati when they were allegedly abducted by a team of policemen attached to the Gujarat anti-terrorist squad on November 23, 2005.
Two days later, Sheikh was killed in a purported fake encounter near Gandhinagar, and Kausar Bi was done to death the next day. Her body was burnt in a dry river bed, also near Gandhinagar.
Prajapati, the sole witness to their abduction, was killed a year later, in December 2006. A joint team of Gujarat and Rajasthan police claimed that it shot him down while he was trying to escape at Banaskantha’s Chapri village.
CBI claimed that it was a contract killing purportedly ordered by the then Gujrat home minister, Amit Shah, at the behest of the Rajasthan marble lobby, which was said to be fed up with extortion and demands for protection money by the slain gangster.
CBI booked 38 persons in connection with the three deaths .Sixteen of them, including Amit Shah and several high-ranking police officers from Gujrat and Rajasthan, were discharged during pendency of the trial. The remaining 22 faced trial.
The case against the 22 collapsed after 92 of 210 witnesses turned hostile. Special judge Sharma has, however, held that the witnesses spoke truth and it was the CBI which had wrongly recoded their statements.
“I had the occasion of seeing the deposition of the witnesses while they were in the witness box which clearly reflected that they were speaking the truth before this court, clearly indicating that their statements were wrongly recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code by CBI during investigation,” he said in his verdict.
While passing the order, he said: “I am aware of the degree of agony and frustration that may be caused to the society in general and the families of the deceased in particular, by the fact a serious nature of crime like this goes unpunished” but, his hands were tied by the law of the land that in criminal prosecution burden of proof rests on the prosecution and the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.”
First Published: Dec 28, 2018 23:56 IST