Kausar Bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
Kausar Bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.(Photo Courtesy: Twitter) 
  • 1. The (Fake) Encounter
  • 2. Who was Sohrabuddin Sheikh, really?
  • 3. How Was the Encounter Exposed as Fake?
  • 4. The Investigation
  • 5. What Happened to Kausar Bi?
  • 6. Why was Sohrabuddin Targeted?
  • 7. The Case Against Amit Shah
  • 8. Link between Judge Loya's Mysterious Death and the...
  • 9. The Revolt in the Judiciary
The ‘Fake’ Encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kausar Bi

(Update: A special CBI court on Friday, 21 December, acquitted all the 22 accused in the Sohrabuddin ‘fake’ encounter case, citing lack of evidence.)

In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered an investigation into as many as 22 alleged extra-judicial killings in Gujarat between 2003 and 2006. Among them was the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case which in 2010 led to the resignation and arrest of the then Gujarat Minister of State, Amit Shah. And although the CBI court gave the BJP President a clean chit in 2014, the decision was followed by a series of unfortunate events that brought the very autonomy of the Indian judiciary under threat.

This includes the mysterious death of CBI court Judge, Brijgopal Harkishan Loya – who was allegedly offered a Rs 100 crore bribe for a favourable verdict – leading to an unprecedented and very public revolt against the Chief Justice of India by four sitting Supreme Court justices who claimed Justice Dipak Misra was selectively assigning cases to benches without any rational basis. Although the senior most judges in the country refrained from specifying any case, the indication was to the hearing of a PIL demanding an investigation into Judge Loya’s death.

The Quint retraces the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and the web of controversies that have spun in its aftermath.

  • 1. The (Fake) Encounter

    On 23 November 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were travelling from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad. At 1:30 am, the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat Police stopped the bus at Sangli, Maharashtra and escorted the couple off the bus.

    Three days later, on 26 November 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh was shot dead in what deputy inspector general of police DG Vanzara calls an encounter. According to the police, Sheikh had been operating from the Narol area of Ahmedabad city and when a police team spotted him riding a motorcycle near the Vishala Circle, they tried to intercept him, but he refused to stop. In a desperate attempt to escape, he shot at the policemen who shot back in self-defence and killed him.

    In the press conference convened that day, DIG Vanzara told reporters that “Sheikh, a sharpshooter with underworld connections, had come to the city at the behest of the LeT and the ISI to assassinate a top political figure.” Although Vanzara did not name anyone, it was speculated that the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was the target.

    According to Vanzara, the Gujarat ATS had acted on the basis of intelligence inputs from the Rajasthan Police, who were also part of the encounter team. As for Sohrabuddin’s criminal past, Vanzara said he was wanted in an arms case in Madhya Pradesh and for a murder case in Rajasthan. Additionally, he said “Sohrabuddin was known to be a close aide of Pakistan-based Sharif Khan and Rasool Parti, who are themselves henchmen of Dawood Ibrahim and were instrumental in the assassination bid on a BJP leader in Gujarat in the recent past, including the murder of the former home minister Haren Pandya.”

    Kausar Bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
    Encounter specialist DG Vanzara has been discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and has hinted at joining politics. 
    (Photo: PTI)

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