Mumbai CBI Court to Hear Encounter Cases
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