No plea for shifting Sohrab case outside Guj: CBI

Last Updated: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 17:42

Ahmedabad: The CBI Monday said it had not
asked the Supreme Court to shift the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake
encounter case outside Gujarat -- an issue that rankled Chief
Minister Narendra Modi -- and sought a 10-day custody of former
Gujarat minister Amit Shah for more questioning.

The CBI was reported to have asked the Supreme Court to
transfer the controversial case outside Gujarat for a fair
trial in its status report submitted to the apex court on
Friday but its counsel and senior Supreme Court lawyer K T S
Tulsi told a court here that no such plea was made.

"We have not asked the Supreme Court to transfer the
(Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter) case outside Gujarat in
the status report submitted by us," Tulsi told a court in a
submission that ran contrary to what was widely reported after
the CBI filed the status report into its six-month-old
investigation into the case in a sealed cover to the Supreme
Court.

Tulsi made the submission during the hearing of bail
plea of Shah, a former minister of state for home and a close
Modi aide, in connection with the Sohrabuddin case.

The report of CBI, in which, according to sources, it
had expressed doubts over the conduct of free and fair trial
in Gujarat, had sparked an angry reaction from Modi who came
down heavily on the Centre, saying that it was an "insult" to
the state`s judicial system.

"I want to question the Central government, tell me,
if you consider Gujarat to be the part of India or not? Why is
Gujarat being treated as if it were part of an enemy state?"
Modi had asked.

The special CBI court reserved its order till Wednesday
on CBI plea seeking a 10-day custody of Shah in connection
with the case.

After hearing arguments from senior Supreme Court
lawyers of both the sides, Judicial Magistrate A Y Dave said
he will pronounce the order on Wednesday.

Tulsi said the alleged action of Shah in running an
extortion racket through a nexus of police officers and
criminals was the worst example of mockery of law by the
custodians of law post-Independence.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani, representing
Shah in the case, opposed CBI custody saying CBI has no proof
against Shah.

Jethmalani said this is an attempt to tarnish a man`s
image who has a spotless reputation and is an honest minister.

Tulsi while pressing for Shah`s remand for 10 days gave
reasons for it in a sealed envelope.

"We did not seek remand earlier because it was expected
that Shah would recognise his obligation to assist CBI in the
case. But it has not happened," Tulsi said.

"Minister is accused of serious offence, where one
person was allegedly murdered while Kausar Bi, a witness to
the crime, was abducted and murdered," Tulsi said, adding that
the reason for his CBI custody were given in a sealed cover to
keep the investigation details classified.

"Custody is required by the CBI also for recovery of
important documents which are in his possession and which
could prove vital evidence in the case," Tulsi said.

The agency`s step to seek custody of Shah comes after
his three-day interrogation by the agency in the Sabarmati
jail where he reportedly did not cooperate with the
investigations.

PTI



First Published: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 17:42

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