A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai that conducted the trial in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases has blamed the investigating agency of conducting inquiries with the “preconceived and premeditated” goal to implicate political leaders, PTI reported. Special CBI Judge SJ Sharma made the observations in a 350-page judgement on December 21, while acquitting the 22 accused in the case.

Sheikh, a wanted criminal, was killed in an alleged encounter in November 2005. His wife was allegedly raped and killed three days later, and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati was was shot dead by the police in December 2006. Of the 38 people accused in the case, only 22 stood trial. The final arguments in the case ended on December 5. Out of the 210 witnesses examined, 92 were declared hostile.

Sharma said his predecessor Justice MB Gosavi, while acquitting Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah, who was an accused in the case, recorded that the investigation was “politically motivated”.

“Having given my dispassionate consideration to the entire material placed before me and having examined each of the witnesses and the evidence closely, I have no hesitation in recording that a premier investigating agency like CBI had before it a premeditated theory and a script intended to implicate political leaders,” the judgement read. Sharma said that in its zeal to implicate political leaders, the CBI “created evidence” and “placed witnesses” in the chargesheet.

The judge accused the central agency of neglecting material evidence and hurriedly completing the investigation. “The CBI thus implicated police personnel who had no knowledge of any conspiracy...rather they appeared innocent,” he added.