Sohrab case: Guj HC rejects bail plea of IPS officer

Gujarat HC rejected the bail application of suspended IPS office Rajkumar Pandiyan who is accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 00:38 AM IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the bail application of suspended IPS office Rajkumar Pandiyan who is accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Justice M R Shah while rejecting Pandiyan`s bail plea upheld contention of the investigating agency CBI, that releasing him would hamper investigation in the case.
The court also dismissed the contention of the defence that since Pandiyan was in jail since April 2007, keeping him for such a long time in prison amounted to violation of article 21 of the constitution.

The CBI during hearing in the case had submitted before the Court that Pandiyan was threatening witnesses from inside the jail.

Senior counsel K T S Tulsi, appearing on behalf of CBI had given two sealed covers containing statements of witnesses recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), to justify his submission.
Tulsi argued that investigation was at a stage where safety of witnesses was important. Otherwise it would be difficult to reach stage of trial in the case.

Pandiyan, had approached the High Court seeking bail on the grounds of parity as former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah, a prime accused in the fake encounter case, was given bail.

Pandiyan`s counsel SB Vakil had argued in the court that since his client`s bail was first rejected in 2008, circumstances pertaining to the case has changed.
He had said that Supreme Court has stayed the trial of the case in 2008 and it was uncertain when the trial would commence.

Also, the case has been transfered to the CBI by the Apex Court following which the agency has filed charge sheet against Pandiyan and submitted final report to SC, he added.

Vakil had further contended that since the key accused like Shah was granted bail by Gujarat High Court in October, his client also deserved to be released on bail as there were no apprehension of him interfering with probe which as per CBI was complete.
Pandiyan along with other IPS officers in the case D G Vanzara and Dinesh M N was arrested by the state CID in connection with the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin in April
2007.

Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster was killed in a police encounter, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city in November 2005.

A few days later Sohrabuddin`s wife Kaursarbi was also killed allegedly by the policemen and her body was burnt and ashes thrown in Narmada river.

According to CBI, one of the key witnesses in the case Tulsiram Prajapati was also killed in a police encounter in December 2006.

PTI