A special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Monday began hearing the final arguments in the case related to the deaths of wanted criminal Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi in 2005 and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati a year later, IANS reported. A verdict is expected by the end of December.

Sheikh, who was a wanted criminal, was killed by the Gujarat Police in November 2005 in an encounter, which is alleged to have been staged. He and Kauser Bi were travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra when they were stopped by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police, allegedly abducted and shot dead near Gandhinagar. A sub-inspector also allegedly raped Kauserbi before murdering her.

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.

On November 20, former chief investigating officer Amitabh Thakur had claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, who was the state’s home minister at that time, and four senior police officers benefited politically and monetarily from the case. All the five named by Thakur were discharged by the trial court between 2014 and 2017.

Of the 38 people accused in the case, only 22 stood trial and 16 were discharged.