NEW DELHI: CBI has not challenged the order of a special court discharging BJP chief Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh “fake” encounter case on the ground that it had no fresh evidence to add to the material which did not pass muster with the judge. The deadline for filing the appeal in a higher court against the discharge order ended on Wednesday.
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Special CBI judge M B Goswami, on December 30, 2014, had discharged Shah saying the case against him had “political overtones”. “There is no prosecutable material against Shah which requires a trial,” the judge had said, adding, “I found substance in the main contention made by the applicant (Shah) that he was involved in the case by the CBI for political reasons.”
An appeal has to be filed in a higher court within three months (90 days) of the order. However, the CBI starts the 90-day count not from the day of the court order but from the date it receives a copy of the order. In this case, the CBI got the court order on January 8 this year.
CBI sources said legal experts and its investigation team examined the matter for three months but they decided on not filing an appeal as “there was no fresh evidence against Amit Shah”.
“There are many instances where in one case, there is strong evidence against an accused while there is weak evidence against another. It doesn’t mean our investigation was not credible. Many police officers are on trial in the case and there is reliable evidence against them. It is not necessary that CBI should go in appeal against the discharge of a particular person on the basis of same evidence and statements,” said an official.
TOI had first reported on February 13 that CBI will not go in appeal against the court order.
While the agency’s decision comes as a relief for the BJP chief, Congress and other political parties may target the CBI for the decision. Congress has demanded that the CBI file an appeal.
The case against Shah was that a conspiracy was hatched by Rajasthan home minister Gulabchand Kataria using his political connections in Gujarat to do away with Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster.
Shah, who was then junior home minister of Gujarat, was arrested in 2010.
CBI had charge-sheeted 37 persons in the case. Shah, who was accused number 16, had claimed innocence but had to resign from the home minister’s post after his name cropped up.
According to CBI, Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauserbi were abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad when they were travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005. Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness in the alleged fake encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 2006.