The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected a petition against the Central Bureau of Investigation’s decision to not challenge Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah’s discharge in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, ANI reported. The petition was filed by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association in January.
“We are not inclined to grant any relief...especially when the petitioner is a body which has no locus in the case,” the court said in its judgement, according to PTI.
The Bombay Lawyers’ Association now plans to move the Supreme Court in the case, reported News 18.
In September, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Bombay High Court that the petition “is a publicity litigation and not a public interest litigation”. The petition had termed the CBI’s decision not to challenge Shah’s discharge in the case as “illegal, arbitrary and malafide”.
Dushyant Dave, the counsel for the lawyers’ association, had argued that the CBI changed its stand on Shah after the change of government at the Centre in 2014. The petition also raised questions over the CBI’s decision to file revision applications against the discharge of two police officers accused in the case and not challenge Shah’s discharge from the case.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said there was no law that makes it compulsory for the agency to file appeals or revision applications for every discharge.
Sheikh was a wanted criminal killed by the Gujarat Police in an encounter in November 2005, which is alleged to have been staged. Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi were travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra when they were stopped by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police, abducted and shot dead near Gandhinagar. A sub-inspector also allegedly raped Kauserbi before she was murdered.
Sheikh’s aide Tulsiram Prajapati was the sole witness to the murders. He was in police custody after the incident but was shot dead in another encounter in December 2006 when the police claimed he was trying to escape from custody.
The initial list of accused individuals had included Amit Shah, ministers and police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Of the 38 people accused in the case, only 22 stood trial.
A trial court in 2014 dropped the charges against 15 of the accused, including Shah, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, and all the IPS officers, except former Gujarat Anti-terror Squad chief Vipul Aggarwal. The court had cited lack of sanction to prosecute or lack of evidence as reasons for its decision.