Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Wednesday accused the Congress of “misusing” the Central Bureau of Investigation to frame Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, PTI reported. The chief minister demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi apologise for his party’s attempt to “implicate Shah in the matter”.

On December 22, Gandhi had tweeted against the CBI court’s verdict acquitting all 22 people accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case a day earlier. “NO ONE KILLED... Haren Pandya. Tulsiram Prajapati. Justice Loya. Prakash Thombre. Shrikant Khandalkar. Kauser Bi. Sohrabuddin Sheikh. THEY JUST DIED,” Gandhi had tweeted.

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 shot dead by police a year later in December 2006.

Shah, who was Gujarat’s home minister in 2010, was arrested for a short period in connection with the case.

Adityanath accused the Opposition party of playing with the security of the nation for its benefit. “It has become clear from the CBI court’s judgement which acquitted all accused and termed it [the case] a political conspiracy,” Adityanath said. “Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the country and clear his party’s stand on backing a terrorist [Sheikh].”

His allegations follow Congress’ claims that the BJP had interfered in the functioning of the investigation agency.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister alleged that the Gandhi-led party was plotting to send Shah to jail. “Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh were involved in the conspiracy,” Adityanath said. “The Congress was working in the interest of a terrorist, who was fighting against the country. They did lobbying in his favour and had sent Shah to jail,” he said.

On Tuesday, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also made similar claims, The Hindu reported.

The case

The Central Bureau of Investigation took over the case from the Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department in 2010 after a Supreme Court order. The agency filed a chargesheet in 2012.

Of the 38 people accused in the case, only 22 stood trial. The 22 people accused in the case include police inspectors, assistant inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables and the owner of a farmhouse where Sheikh and his wife Kauserbi were allegedly confined after being kidnapped from a bus on November 23, 2005. The final arguments in the case ended on December 5. Out of the 210 witnesses examined, 92 were declared hostile.

The initial list of accused individuals had included Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, ministers and police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan.