Mum­bai CBI Court to Hear En­counter Cases

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - AMAN SHARMA

AMIT Shah's phenom­e­nal suc­cess as the ar­chi­tect of BJP's sweep in Ut­tar Pradesh and the ce­ment­ing of his im­age as Prime Min­is­ter des­ig­nate Naren­dra Modi's right­hand man has put the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) in a tricky sit­u­a­tion as the lead probe agency has to con­vince a court to frame charges against him for his al­leged in­volve­ment in three staged killings. BJP has long main­tained that these cases are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. Shah is sup­posed to ap­pear be­fore a Spe­cial CBI court in Mum­bai on May 23 which will de­cide whether to frame charges against him for his in­volve­ment in the al­leged fake en­counter of Sohrabud­din Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Tul­siram Pra­jap­ati. Shah, in March, had filed an ap­pli­ca­tion in court say­ing he should be dis­charged from the case as there is no sub­stan­tive ev­i­dence against him. A top CBI of­fi­cial told ET on Tues­day that CBI has re­cently filed a re­ply op­pos­ing Shah's ap­pli­ca­tion, which re­it­er­ated that it has enough pros­e­cutable ev­i­dence against Shah. “We have filed a re­ply say­ing Shah's plea for dis­charge should be dis­missed....we have to back our chargesheet against him. The court has to now de­cide on whether to dis­charge Shah or frame mur­der charges against him,” the CBI of­fi­cial said on the con­di­tion of anonymity. CBI of­fi­cials con­ceded that the mat­ter was be­com­ing “un­com­fort­able” for the agency giv- en Shah's cru­cial role in the new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion “CBI is set to start oral ar­gu­ments in court op­pos­ing Shah's dis­charge ap­pli­ca­tion and stress­ing why he has a ma­jor role in all three killings. That would fur­ther ruf­fle po­lit­i­cal feath­ers,” an­other se­nior CBI of­fi­cial said. BJP has ear­lier pointed out that CBI's first charge-sheet against Amit Shah in the Sohrab­bud­din fake en­counter cases was filed in 2010 the ten­ure of then CBI Di­rec­tor Ash­wani Ku­mar, who was later ap­pointed by the UPA govern­ment last year as the Gover­nor of Na­ga­land. Shah was then jailed then for two months. CBI filed a sup­ple­men­tary charge-sheet against Shah in the Sohrabud­din case and an­other chargesheet in the Tul­siram Pra­jap­ati fake en­counter case in the ten­ure of Ku­mar's pre­de­ces­sor, A.P. Singh, who was later ap­pointed as mem­ber, UPSC. “UPA has mas­tered the art of ma­nip­u­lat­ing the CBI. The Di­rec­tors were of­fered fresh jobs on the eve of re­tire­ment. A post-re­tire­ment job would be sug­gested to them. This would con­trib­ute to their pli­a­bil­ity. Fac­tu­ally, the Di­rec­tors were of­fered post-re­tire­ment jobs rang­ing from Gov­er­nor­ship to the mem­ber­ship of the UPSC,” se­nior BJP leader Arun Jait­ley had blogged on Fe­bru­ary 9 this year. In the ten­ure of CBI Di­rec­tor Ran­jit Sinha, CBI filed an­other chargesheet in the Sohrabud­din case, this time ac­cus­ing BJP's for­mer home min­is­ter in Ra­jasthan, Gu­lab Chand Kataria of be­ing part of the con­spir­acy. On CBI's ap­peal to court that wit­nesses were be­ing in­tim­i­dated, the trial of the case was also shifted from Ahmed­abad to Mum­bai. Shah was how­ever given a clean chit in the Ishrat Ja­han case in the present CBI dis­pen­sa­tion. BJP leader Arun Jait­ley re­cently said that cases against Amit Shah were “legally un­sus­tain­able” and that “the Gu­jarat High Court while grant­ing Shah bail ob­served that there was no prima fa­cie case against him.” Jait­ley also wrote to Man­mo­han Singh last Oc­to­ber say­ing CBI of­fi­cials who pre­pared and filed charge sheets against Shah “de­serve to be pros­e­cuted for this dis­hon­est at­tempt to im­pli­cate se­nior lead­ers purely un­der po­lit­i­cal pres­sure of the Congress.” CBI, how­ever, claims it has ev­i­dence to prove Shah's in­volve­ment and says its probe has been closely mon­i­tored by the Supreme Court.

Shah is sup­posed to ap­pear be­fore a Spe­cial CBI court in Mum­bai on May 23

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