Sohrabuddin case: BJP attacks CBI, defends Gulab Chand Kataria

The Bharatiya Janata Party came out in defence of its leader of opposition in Rajasthan and former state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

Updated: May 15, 2013, 15:00 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday came out in defence of its leader of opposition in Rajasthan and former state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who has been chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Soharabuddin Sheikh killing case.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, BJP president Rajnath Singh said that chargesheet against Kataria is a political conspiracy. Claiming that there was an attempt by Congress to frame top BJP leaders, Singh said the party will back its leaders.

"The booking of Kataria is not based on facts. It is a political conspiracy by the UPA to defame our leaders," Singh told reporters.

"We will fight the case both politically and legally," he said.

Reacting to the Central Bureau of Investigation`s supplementary chargesheet filed in Mumbai court in which agency named Kataria as an accused in the case, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, meanwhile, asked how come the CBI does not have any evidence against (former Railway minister) Pawan Kumar Bansal?

The CBI director has reportedly said they don`t have any direct evidence when Pawan Bansal is yet to be interrogated, added Jaitley.

Claiming that Congress is using CBI to frame BJP workers, Jaitley said the agency has one rule for Kataria and another for Bansal.

Kataria, from Rajasthan, is the second high profile politician to be named in the alleged fake encounter case after former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly kidnapped by Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a "gunfight" near Gandhinagar in November 2005.

A year later, Tulsiram Prajapati, a prime witness to the incident, was allegedly killed in another staged gunfight in Chapri village of Gujarat`s Banaskantha district.

Hitting out at the CBI, Jaitley added: “We now know how the CBI operates after its true face came out before SC”.

He further said that the new Group of Ministers constituted to work on CBI`s autonomy is a mere eyewash.

Jaitley said the issue of autonomy of CBI has been discussed at length in the debate over the Lokpal Bill as well as during the meeting of the select committee of the Upper House.

He said the Select Committee has already given its recommendation on the matter and the Union Cabinet has approved most of these.

Jaitley said there were differences between the government and the Opposition on certain points, but there was a broad agreement on most of the issues regarding autonomy of CBI.

"The new Group of Ministers on autonomy for CBI is an eyewash. There is no need to start afresh," Jaitley said, adding the Lokpal Bill passed by Lok Sabha also has provisions on autonomy to CBI by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

The government yesterday constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, to prepare a draft law to insulate CBI from external influence and a draft affidavit within three weeks in the Supreme Court which had made scathing observations on the agency.

The Group of Ministers will deliberate on ways to further strengthen CBI`s autonomy and safeguard it from any kind of outside interferences.

The GoM has been constituted after the Supreme Court had indicted CBI for being a "caged parrot" of its political masters while hearing a case related to alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocation.

(With Agency inputs)