Sohrabuddin case: HC refuses to extend anticipatory bail of accused

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday refused to extend the anticipatory bail term of two close aides of former minister Amit Shah, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, being probed by the CBI.

Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 00:19 AM IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday
refused to extend the anticipatory bail term of two close
aides of former minister Amit Shah, accused in the Sohrabuddin
Sheikh fake encounter case, being probed by the CBI.

Justice Anant S Dave rejected the request of the accused
Yashpal Chudasama and Ajay Patel to grant them fresh
anticipatory bails as 90-day term of the bail granted by the
High Court on September 21 was to expire today.
However, the court has stayed the implementation of the
order for three weeks, allowing the duo to approach the
Supreme Court.

While rejecting the applications of the duo, the court
observed that based on the statements of witnesses it prima
facie appeared that they had attempted to tamper with evidence
and influence witnesses.

It further said that since the gravity of the charges
against Chudasama and Patel were high, as they could be
imprisoned for life if convicted, and with investigation
pending there could be need for their custodial interrogation.

On September 21, Justice R H Shukla had granted
anticipatory bail to Chudasama and Patel and observed that
accusation by CBI against the accused were serious, but there
was no prima facie case suggesting their involvement.

Chudasama and Patel, close aides of former Gujarat
minister of state for home Amit Shah, are office bearers of
Ahmedabad District Cooperative (ADC) bank.

After their names appeared in the chargesheet filed by
the CBI, they went absconding.

CBI had obtained non-bailable warrants against the duo
and declared them absconding accused, before they got
anticipatory bail from the Gujarat High Court in September.

As per the chargesheet, Amit Shah directed Patel and
another accused Abhay Chudasama, his close confidants, to
"convince, coerce, threaten, influence the witnesses on his
behalf to conceal the truth from CBI, about the fake encounter
of Sohrabuddin."
Patel and Yashpal Chudasama had actively participated in
the main conspiracy and the crime committed in furtherance to
the conspiracy, the chargesheet said.

It further stated that the duo were mainly accused under
IPC section 201 (destruction of evidence) which is to be read
with offence 302 (murder), 120 B(conspiracy), 364, 365 and 368
(all related to kidnapping), 384 (extortion) and other
sections.

According to the chargesheet, the duo were accused in
serious offence of a triple murder where Sohrabuddin was
killed in a fake encounter, while his wife Kausarbi and one
Tulsiram Prajapati, who were witnesses, were eliminated as
part of the conspiracy by Gujarat police.

PTI