Court rejects CBI plea for Amit Shah`s custody

Amit Shah is in judicial custody since July 25 and currently lodged in Sabarmati jail.

Updated: Aug 04, 2010, 21:48 PM IST

Ahmedabad: In a setback to CBI, a special
court today rejected its plea for former Gujarat minister Amit
Shah`s custody, saying the probe agency does not have
substantial grounds to seek his remand in connection with the
Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate A Y Dave rejected
the CBI`s application saying the agency was earlier given time
to question Shah inside jail for three days, but they quizzed
him for only for three hours. Hence, the CBI demand for Shah`s
remand cannot be entertained, the court said.

The CBI had demanded 10 days remand of Shah, saying
that he did not cooperate during interrogation in jail.

The court further said the grounds for seeking Shah`s
remand given by the CBI in a sealed cover on Monday last, were
"like general allegations".

"Grounds for remand have been mentioned by the agency.
But in light of the constitutional rights of the accused,
based on this short note (by CBI), to assume primarily that
(Shah) is an accused would not be proper," the court said.

"In view of the facts also there are no substantial
grounds with the CBI to seek remand of the accused (Shah)," it

Senior Supreme Court lawyer K T S Tulsi representing
the CBI had submitted that Shah`s custody was required for
recovery of "important documents" which are in his possession
and could prove to be vital evidence in the case.

The court said as per a Supreme Court order, which was
cited by Shah`s counsel Ram Jethmalani, no remand could be
granted for mere recovery or to extract names of other accused
in the case.

The court`s order further mentioned that CBI had not
sought to question Shah in the first 24 hours after his arrest
on July 25.

Jethmalani had opposed CBI`s plea and said the agency
has no proof against him and was given enough time to
interrogate Shah but did not utilise that time.

Shah, a former minister of state for home and close
aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was arrested by CBI in
connection with the fake encounter case and charged with
murder, extortion and kidnapping.

The 46-year-old resigned from the government last
month after he was declared an accused in the charge sheet
filed in fake encounter case by CBI.

The charge sheet has named Shah as a key accused along
with IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, M N Dinesh
and Abhay Chudasama. In all, 15 accused were named.

According to the charge sheet, it was Shah who had
entrusted with the task of eliminating Sheikh, an alleged
gangster, to Vanzara, Pandia and Chudasama.