HC ends hearing on 5 revision petitions in Sohrabuddin case

The Bombay High Court on Monday concluded the hearing on the five revision petitions challenging the discharge granted to senior Gujarat and Rajasthan police officials in the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their aide Tulsiram Prajapati.

The High Court reserved its judgment after completing the hearing. A Single Bench, presided over by Justice A.M. Badar, was conducting hearing on a daily basis on the five revision pleas since July 4 this year. Sohrabuddin Shaikh’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh has filed three of these five pleas, challenging the discharge granted in the case by the trial court to Rajkumar Pandian, and Dinesh M.N., IPS officers from the Rajasthan Police, and former Gujarat ATS chief D.G. Vanzara.

The remaining two pleas were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), challenging the discharge granted to N.K. Amin, an officer of the Gujarat Police, and Dalpat Singh Rathod, a Rajasthan police constable. The CBI had booked these five officials, along with 33 other people, as accused in the “fake” encounters of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Kausar Bi and Prajapati in 2005-06.

Between August 2016 and September 2017, a special court in Mumbai, where the case was shifted from Gujarat, discharged 15 of these 38 accused. Those discharged included 14 police officials and BJP president Amit Shah, a former Gujarat minister of State for Home.

Rubabuddin Shaikh’s lawyer Gautam Tiwari argued that the trial court had erred in granting discharge to the officials. Even as the defence team, comprising senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, advocates Raja Thakare and Niranjan Mundargi attempted to pick holes in the CBI’s theory, Mr. Tiwari argued that there was enough evidence against the officials to point a finger of suspicion at them. He said, “There is enough evidence against them to frame charges. These officers should at least have faced trial (discharge is a pre-trial process).”

Mr. Jethmalani defended the order and argued the court must note that most of the prosecution witnesses had turned hostile.

There is enough evidence against the police officers to frame charges. They should have faced trial

Gautam TiwariRubabuddin Shaikh’s lawyer

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