New Delhi: In a major setback to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to cancel the bail given to former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, however, transferred the trial in Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi killing case outside Gujarat to Mumbai.
Pronouncing a brief order, Justice Alam said, “The CBI plea against the grant of bail to Amit Shah by Gujarat High Court is dismissed. However, the plea for the transfer of trial outside the state is allowed.”
This implies that Shah will now be free to enter Gujarat as the apex court today dismissed the petition moved by the CBI. In its petition, the central probe agency had contended that Shah, a former close aide of state’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi, may try to influence witnesses in the case.
Today`s ruling is a major jolt to the central investigating agency probing the fake encounter case but it has given a major breather to the BJP government as Shah is considered to be one of the main strategists for Narendra Modi.
However, the apex court order to shift the case to Mumbai will be a cause of worry for the BJP government in Gujarat.
Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat`s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.
Shah was arrested by the CBI on July 25, 2010 and was lodged in the Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad where he stayed for three months.
He had to quit the Modi government in July last year after having been slapped with kidnapping and murder charges in the fake encounter killing.
Shah, who is currently out on bail, was restricted by the Supreme Court from entering the state.
With Agency Inputs