The CBI opposed before the Bombay High Court, the discharge granted to Gujarat Police officer N K Amin by a trial court in the alleged fake encounter case of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that Amin, who was posted with the Ahmedabad Crime Branch at the time of the incident in 2005-06, was present at the site where Kausar Bi’s body had been disposed of.
Singh argued before a single bench of Justice A M Badar that considering the defence team’s arguments that Shaikh and the others were killed in a genuine encounter by officers of the Gujarat ATS, Amin had no reasons to be present at the aforementioned site.
According to the CBI charge sheet in the case, Shaikh and Kausar Bi were killed in the fake encounter by officials of the Gujarat ATS at the behest of some senior IPS officers of the Gujarat and Rajasthan police.
Her body was then taken to a village called Illol, around 100 km away from Ahmedabad, which is also the native place of former Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara, who, too, is an accused in the case, the central agency has said.
The body was burnt and the ashes were disposed of in the Narmada river, the charge sheet stated.
Nathuba Jadeja, who was a driver with the ATS at the time, had said in his statement to the CBI that Amin had also been present at the site in Illol.
“Amin was a Crime Branch DSP at the time of the incident and his area of jurisdiction was limited to Ahmedabad. So what was his reason to be present with the ATS officers,” Singh said.
“This in itself indicates that Amin was part of some conspiracy,” he said.
The charge, however, was opposed by Amin’s lawyer, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, who told the court that the only witness who named Amin was Jadeja.
However, Jadeja’s testimony to the CBI could not be considered as credible evidence by the high court since he had turned hostile before the trial court, he argued.
“Mere presence at the site does not mean anything unless it is backed by additional evidence,” Jethmalani said.
Shaikh, a gangster with alleged terror links, and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in a suspected fake encounter by the Gujarat police in November 2005.
Prajapati was killed in another alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in December 2006.
Both cases were clubbed and the CBI booked 38 people as accused. Between August 2016, and September 2017, a special court in Mumbai discharged 15 of them.
Those discharged included senior police officials of the Gujarat and Rajasthan police and BJP president Amit Shah, a former Gujarat Minister of State for Home.
Justice Badar has been conducting hearings on a daily basis on three revision petitions filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh and another two by the CBI in the case.
Rubabuddin has challenged the discharge granted to Vanzara, Gujarat IPS officer Dinesh M N and Rajasthan IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian by the trial court.
The CBI has challenged the discharge of Amin, and Rajasthan police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod.
Jethmalani, who represents Vanzara, Pandian and Amin, has maintained the discharge order in the case of all three officers was right in law.
The case was transferred to Mumbai from Gujarat by the Supreme Court in 2012 on the CBI’s request.