Special CBI court in Mumbai to start trial in alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Charges have been framed against 22 accused and summons have been sent to 20 witnesses for joining the trial; Sohrabuddin's brother Nayimuddin to also appear as a witness.
The court had last month framed charges against the 22 accused of murder, abduction and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code and for offences under the Arms Act but all the accused pleaded innocence.
BJP president Amit Shah, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and N K Amin were discharged in the case.
Besides them, Yashpal Chudasama and Ajay Patel (both senior officials at Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank), Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan and Andhra Pradesh-cadre IPS official N Balasubramanyam, Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M N and former senior Gujarat police officer D G Vanzara too have been discharged by the court.
Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat police's Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra in November 2005. Sheikh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar.
His wife disappeared. She too was believed to have been done to death.
Prajapati, an aide of Sheikh's and eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat's Banaskantha district in December 2006.
The fake encounter case was transferred to Mumbai in September 2012 on the request of the CBI which said it was necessary to ensure a fair trial.
In 2013, the Supreme Court clubbed the Sheikh and Prajapati encounter cases.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)