A special CBI court in Mumbai, on Friday, 21 December, acquitted all 22 accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, observing that there was not “enough evidence” to prove conspiracy.
"I am helpless," said Special CBI Judge SJ Sharma while referring to the proof not being satisfactory.
Speaking to the media after the acquittal of the accused, Sohrabuddin's brother Rubabuddin said the judge and the CBI are "corrupt", adding that he'll approach the High Court and the Supreme Court now.
After appeals from various quarters, the politically-sensitive trial had been shifted from Gujarat to Mumbai by the Supreme Court in September 2012.
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Sohrabuddin Sheikh Case: All 22 Accused Acquitted by Special CBI Court in Mumbai Due to Lack of Evidence
The special CBI judge observed in his order that all the witnesses and proofs are “not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and murder”. The court also observed that circumstantial evidence “was not substantial,” reported ANI.
“The government machinery and prosecution put in a lot of effort. 210 witnesses were brought but satisfactory evidence didn’t come and witnesses turned hostile. No fault of prosecutor if witnesses don’t speak,” the CBI court said.
Among those discharged were the then-Gujarat Home Minister and now BJP President Amit Shah, then-Rajasthan Home Minister GC Kataria, the 'encounter specialist' and former Deputy Inspector General from Gujarat DG Vanzara, who at the relevant time headed the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in that state, IPS officer NK Amin and 12 other policemen, including IPS officers.
Another 22 accused remain in the dock, including two Deputy Superintendents, Senior Inspectors, an Inspector, Sub-Inspectors, Assistant Sub-Inspectors and several constables of Gujarat and Rajasthan Police.
Background of The Case
The CBI said Sheikh, an alleged gangster, Kausar Bi and Prajapati were abducted by the Gujarat police from a bus when they were going to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad on the night of 22-23 November, 2005.
Sheikh was killed in an alleged fake encounter on 26 November 2005 near Ahmedabad, while his wife was killed three days later and her body disposed of, the CBI had said.
It said that a year later, on 27 December 2006, Prajapati was also shot dead by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in an alleged fake encounter near Chapri on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.
'I Am Helpless,' Says CBI Judge SJ Sharma on Witnesses Turning Hostile
"I am helpless," said Special CBI Judge SJ Sharma while referring to the proof not being satisfactory against the 22 accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, reported ANI.
Will Take Appropriate Action After Reading Judgment: Sohrabuddin’s Brother's Lawyer
Gautam Tiwari, the lawyer of Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, said he will take “appropriate action” after reading the judgment, reported ANI.
Happy With Verdict: Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said he was “happy with the verdict.”
“All allegations against our police and the government have been proved wrong today,” Nitin Patel told News18.
Sohrabuddin Would Have Killed Then Guj CM Modi: Senior Cop
The main accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case and retired Inspector General of Police DG Vanzara maintained that he and his team’s stand of killing Sheikh has been vindicated.
“If Sohrabbudin was not killed then by the Gujarat ATS, then he would have killed then (2005) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,” said Vanzara, reported Hindustan Times.
'Judge, CBI are Corrupt': Sohrabuddin’s Brother Rubabuddin
Speaking to the media after a special CBI court in Mumbai acquitted all 22 accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, Sohrabuddin's brother Rubabuddin said the judge, SJ Sharma, and the CBI are corrupt.
”(Judge) SJ Sharma, CBI are corrupt... They’ve saved everyone. We’ll go to the High Court and the Supreme Court... They’ve not called Rajnish Rai, Raman Patel, Dashrath Patel, Narmada Bai (witnesses). If they’d called them, then everyone would have been punished.”Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s brother Rubabuddin