No plea for shifting Sohrab case outside Guj: CBI
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Last Updated: Monday, August 02, 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.


First Published: Monday, August 02, 2010, 17:42

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