MUMBAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday rested its arguments in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, saying that the encounter was fake. The final hearing in the case was held at a special court in the city on Monday.
The final verdict in this high profile case is expected to come through by the end of this month. As many as 38 people were named accused when this case went to trial. Of them, only 22 stood trial and the remaining 16 were discharged.
Special Public Prosecutor BP Raju presented a body of 'evidence' to prove his argument that the encounters, of Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati, were fake. Additional Sessions Judge SJ Sharma, who presided over the special CBI court, however, pointed out several instances where the agency failed to investigate the matter in detail.
Sheikh, who was wanted in several murder and extortion cases, was killed by Gujarat Police in an encounter in November 2005. Sheikh and Kauser Bi were travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra by bus when they were stopped by a joint team of Gujarat and Rajasthan police. They were allegedly abducted and shot dead near Gandhinagar. Sheikh's aide Tulsiram Prajapati, the only witness to the killings, was taken into custody by the police. However, he was shot dead while trying to escape in December 2006.
Several high ranking officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan police, along with then Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, who were named in connection with the case, were discharged between 2014 and 2017.
However, former chief investigating officer Amitabh Thakur had claimed that they benefited politically and financially from the case.
On Monday, Raju questioned the report presented by a senior inspector of Rajasthan police, claiming that Sheikh had links with Lashkar-e-Toiba and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's premier military intelligence agency, and was planning to assassinate a "big political leader".
Udaipur police denied receiving any such information, the special public prosecutor said. He also mentioned that though Sheikh and Prajapati were charge-sheeted in a murder case in 2005, there was no mention of their links with Lashkar or ISI.
"Why wasn't the source of this information investigated by the agency," the judge asked.
Other key points raised by the special public prosecutor were lack of blood stains on Sheikh's Surat-Ahmedabad train ticket, mention of a threat to Sheikh's life by four witnesses, no investigation of his mobile call records and no mention from where he got the motorcycle.
In Prajapati's case, the chilli powder-escape theory does not satisfy, Raju said.