‘Sohrabuddin Case Shows Failure of Justice’: Ex-Judge Tells Daily
As the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case continues to be heard by a special CBI court, a former judge of the Bombay High Court and the Allahabad High Court, Abhay M Thipsay, has alleged selective discharge of various high-standing accused in the case, questioned the abrupt transfer of judges, and called out the inconsistencies of the court orders, referring to them as "absurd".
In an interview with The Indian Express, Justice Thipsay – who heard four bail applications in connection with the case while at the Bombay High Court – said that the shortcomings and loopholes indicate the "failure of justice and of the justice delivery system", and called for the Bombay HC to consider a relook at the case.
'Suspicion That Differential Treatment Was Accorded to Senior Officers'
Regarding the selective discharge of high-standing accused, Thipsay told The Indian Express that there is suspicion of differential treatment being accorded to the senior officers. Though the nature of material against both lower-level officers and senior officers was the same, the latter were discharged and the former were not, he reportedly alleged.
The version of the same witness, as reflected in police statements, has been believed in the case of some accused and disbelieved in respect of others discharged...You believe that he (Shaikh) was abducted. You also believe that it was a fake encounter. You also believe that he was illegally kept in the farmhouse. And you don’t believe that Vanzara (then DIG Gujarat), Dinesh MN (then Rajasthan SP), or Rajkumar Pandiyan (then Gujarat SP) are involved in that....Justice Thipsay to The Indian Express
Thipsay Presided Over Bail Applications in Sohrabuddin Case
During his time at the Bombay High Court, Justice Thipsay presided over the bail applications of DG Vanzara, M Parmar (ex-Deputy SP of Gujarat's Anti-Terrorism Squad), Narendra K Amin (Deputy SP of Ahmedabad Crime Branch), and sub-inspector in the Gujarat police BR Chaubey. While two bail applications were rejected, bail was given to Amin in 2013 and Vanzara in 2014, The Indian Express reported.
Thipsay told the daily that while he had his reservations about granting bail to Vanzara, he had to do so "because of a Supreme Court order granting bail to co-accused Rajkumar Pandiyan and (BR) Chaubey". He added that not following the SC's line would not amount to proper exercise of judicial discipline.
‘Loya Death Not Unnatural, But Why Were Judges Transferred & Appointed Abruptly’
While Justice Thipsay said that he did not believe that CBI judge BH Loya's was unnatural, he did question the abrupt transfer and appointment of judge JT Utpat (the predecessor of Loya) and Loya respectively.
Four months after being appointed as Registrar Judicial II in the Bombay High Court, Judge Loya was sent back to the Sessions court and given the position of special CBI court judge in the Sohrabuddin case, The Indian Express reported.
In addition to this, Justice Thipsay also termed the special CBI judge's media gag ruling regarding the case, which was subsequently reversed by the Bombay HC, as "very surprising".
The observations by Justice Thipsay come after 30 witnesses in the case have turned hostile. In the meantime, the Supreme Court is also hearing pleas for an independent probe into Judge Loya's death. Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which BJP President Amit Shah was an accused, had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.