Sohrabuddin case: PIL against CBI for not challenging Amit Shah’s discharge

“The CBI is a premier investigating agency. It has public duty to observe the rule of law in its action which it has miserably failed,” the plea said.

BJP president Amit Shah during the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi.
BJP president Amit Shah during the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

A city-based lawyers’ association on Friday filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay high court against the CBI decision not to challenge a lower court order discharging BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case.

In the PIL, the Bombay Lawyers Association has urged the high court to issue a direction to the CBI to file revision application challenging the sessions court order discharging Shah.

The petitioner’s lawyer Ahmad Abidi said the plea would be mentioned before a division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre on January 22.

“The CBI is a premier investigating agency. It has public duty to observe the rule of law in its action which it has miserably failed,” the petition said.

It submitted that the trial court had similarly discharged two Rajasthan Police sub-inspectors Himanshu Singh and Shyam Singh Charan and senior Gujarat Police officer NK Amin.

“The petitioner has learnt that the CBI has challenged their discharge before the high court. This act of the CBI in challenging discharge of the accused persons on selective basis is arbitrary and unreasonable, rather malafide,” it alleged.

The petition claimed that the Supreme Court, while transferring the trial in the case from Gujarat to Mumbai, had ordered that it to be concluded expeditiously.

“The Supreme Court had said the Administrative Committee of the high court would assign the case to a court where the trial may be concluded judiciously, in accordance with the law, and without any delay. The Administrative Committee would also ensure that the trial should be conducted from beginning to end by the same officer, the apex court had said in its order,” it said.

Sohrabuddin Shaikh, alleged to be a terrorist, was killed in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police along with his wife Kauser Bi and his associate Tulsi Prajapati in 2005.

The CBI took over the probe into the case in February 2010 and filed its charge sheet in July the same year against 23 accused including Amit Shah, who at that time was the minister of state for home in Gujarat.

The trial court over a period of time discharged several accused in the case, including three IPS officers.

Gag order in Sohrabuddin trial: HC to hear journalists’ plea

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Friday issued notices to the CBI and the accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case on two petitions filed by journalists against the trial court’s ban on reporting the proceedings.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere will hear the petitions on January 23.

When the petitions came up for hearing Friday, CBI lawyer Sandesh Patil said the investigative agency has “no stand” on the issue. “We are neutral. We leave it to the court to decide,” he said.

One of the petitions has been filed by the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, and the other by nine court reporters of various national dailies, news channels, and news websites.

On November 29, 2017, a few days before day-to-day trial in the fake encounter case was to begin, the special CBI court in Mumbai restrained the media from reporting the proceedings. The order was passed on an application by one of the defence lawyers, seeking a ban on media coverage.

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