A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai will pronounce the judgement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case on December 21, ANI reported on Friday.
Final arguments in the case ended on Wednesday after lawyers of the 22 people accused in the case made their submissions to Special CBI Judge SJ Sharma. The CBI had told the court that hostile witnesses obstructed the probe into the deaths of Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi in 2005, and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati in 2006.
The CBI’s counsel had told the court that the agency took over the case five years later and that witness examination began 12 years after the crime. This led to some “lacuna” in the probe, CBI counsel BP Raju had said on Wednesday. Raju said star witnesses turning hostile had “hampered” the investigation. Out of the 210 witnesses examined, 92 were declared hostile.
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 Kauser Bi 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.
Of the 38 people accused in the case, only 22 stood trial while the others were discharged. The current list of accused include inspectors, assistant inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh who are facing allegations of conspiracy. The initial list of accused individuals had included Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, ministers and police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan.