Court Ruling on Shah Worrisome, CBI Under Govt Pressure: Cong

New Delhi
Court Ruling on Shah Worrisome, CBI Under Govt Pressure: Cong

Questioning CBI's role in the matter, Congress today described as "strange and worrisome" a special court discharging BJP chief Amit Shah in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case and alleged that the "chained, caged and totally immobilised" probe agency was under "government pressure".

"There are many questions to answer, serious questions.... And most importantly there was statement under (Section) 164 (CrpC) before the magistrate. None of this was projected by the CBI counsel during the 15-minute submission before the Mumbai court.

"There are serious questions for the CBI to answer. There are serious questions to the central government, which seems to have become the master of the caged parrot all over again," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

In his tweets, Singhvi questioned as to why the CBI counsel argued "only for 15 minutes" whereas defence lawyers argued in favour of Shah for three days and why the agency also did not hire any Special Public Prosecutor for the case.

He also questioned why the Special CBI judge, Special Public Prosecutor and Investigating Officers of the agency were "changed".

Singhvi also alleged in his tweets that the CBI counsel did not put material of the charge sheet calling Shah the "kingpin" and did not analyse witness statements recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before the magistrate.

Recalling that there was earlier a judicial order that Shah should be kept away from Gujarat as he can influence the investigations, another party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar wondered "suddenly you find that there has been a total u-turn ...Suddenly he is exonerated."

"So it is definitely worrisome... It is very strange," Kumar said wondering how can an evidence be produced in court at one time that ensures that Shah is put behind bars, which is then followed by an order that "externs" him from Gujarat and then "suddenly a judgement that there is not enough evidence".

Kumar said that this entire episode goes to show the way that the present government is going to "use the CBI".

Recalling that the BJP used to say during UPA's rule that CBI was a "caged parrot", the Congress spokesperson alleged, "CBI is now chained, caged and totally immobilised... there must be a tremendous pressure from Government on the CBI...It needs a much deeper inquiry and is definitely worrisome."

At the outset, Singhvi said he would want to read the judgement in detail.

"But I can say at this stage that it (the order) is still at the lowest level (in the judicial hierarchy). The lowest court has so decided, which is subject to appeal. This is not the final stage. It is only the first stage," he said.

In his tweets, he said, "after elections Shah files discharge appln; lawyers argue 3 days; Cbi hires no spl PP;CBI lawyer argues 15 mins; CBI & govt hav lot to answer.

"... Why was spl CBI judge changed as also spl PP and Investigating offr changed? Why Cbi did not hire spl PP & Argd 15 mins as agnst 3 days Args (sic)."

In another tweet, the Congress spokesperson said," Cbi15 mins Args puts no material of csheet caling shah kingpin; does not analyse witness statements recorded u/s 164 before magistrate."

In a major relief to Shah, a special CBI court today discharged him in the case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing in 2005.

"I am of the opinion that the inference drawn by CBI is not accepted in totality and he (Shah) cannot be charged as an accused," Special CBI Judge M B Gosavi said in a brief order pronounced in the court.

The CBI had charged Shah, the then Minister of State for Home in Gujarat, as an accused in the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, who was said to have been an eyewitness to the encounter.

Sohrabuddin's brother Rubabuddin Sheikh said he will challenge the order before the High Court.

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