Amit Shah tried to threaten witnesses: CBI

Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, along with two other accused, tried to hamper probe.

Ahmedabad: After the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case was transferred to CBI by the Supreme Court, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, along with two
other accused, tried to hamper probe and threaten witnesses, the investigating agency has said.

Shah directed Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasama, his close confidants and accused, to "convince, coerce, threaten and influence the witnesses on his behalf to conceal the truth
from CBI about the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin", according to the chargesheet filed by the agency in a court here yesterday.

The 2005 encounter case was transferred to the central agency in January this year.

Investigations revealed that Ajay Patel conveyed a message to two witnesses, Raman Patel and Dashrat Patel, that what they say before CBI would be provided to them in the form of written statements by DCP Abhay Chudasama, who is also an accused, it said.

Both witnesses had four meetings with middlemen sent by Shah at separate places. These meetings were videographed by the two witnesses in a discreet manner. This audio-visual
recording has been seized by the CBI.

"The transcription of the these meetings revealed obstruction and influencing of the witnesses by Shah and Abhay Chudasama," the chargesheet said.

The CBI document further said that audio-visual records indicated how the witnesses retracted their statements at the instance of Shah, who resigned from the Gujarat Ministry this morning, and Abhay.

"The audio-visual records indicate that Ajay Patel and Yashpal had actively participated in the main conspiracy and the crime committed in furtherance to the conspiracy," the
chargesheet said.

Raman Patel and Dashrat Patel are owners of real estate firm Popular Builders. Gujarat Police had stage managed a shootout in the company`s office in December 2004 for the
purpose of lodging an FIR against Sheikh, it said.

The chargesheet said that complaint was filed against Sheikh at the behest of Shah who was under pressure from the marble lobby in neighbouring Rajasthan. Marble merchants
were being harassed by Sheikh, who made frequent demands for hefty protection money.

"Elimination of Sohrabuddin was being used for extortion by the accused to establish an element of fear in the minds of businessmen and others," it said.

While Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were in illegal custody of Gujarat Police, IPS officer DG Vanzara was in constant touch over telephone with Shah and was continuously seeking instructions, it said.

Instructions for killing Kausarbi were also given by the BJP leader to Vanzara, who is among four IPS officers arrested in the case, it said.


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