Prajapati encounter: Guj assures SC of halting proceedings

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today ordered putting on hold proceedings in Tulsiram Prajapati killing case in the trial court till the apex court decides a plea for handing over investigation into the incident to CBI.

Prajapati was a key witness in the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in 2005.

"Till this court decides on the plea for handing over the investigation to CBI, no further proceedings arising from the chargesheet submitted in Tulsiram Prajapati case will continue," a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said while taking an undertaking to this effect from Gujarat's Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta.

The Bench, which was hearing CBI's plea for cancellation of bail of former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah in Soharabuddin case, wanted an undertaking for halting further proceedings in Prajapati case after senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the agency, said the state police has filed a chargesheet in the case.

Tulsi had sought a stay on any further proceedings before a trial court in Ahmedabad contending any judgement in the case will further complicate the matter.

He alleged elimination of Prajapati was a result of larger conspiracy as his killing and murder of Soharabuddin were interconnected, though two separate cases were registered.

The Bench did not give any heed to the plea of Gujarat government that the proceedings will not be influenced as in the chargesheet it has been admitted that Prajapati was killed in a fake encounter on December 28, 2006, while he was in transit from jail to the court.

"You must not proceed with that case. In Soharabuddin case also, it was admitted in the chargesheet that he was killed in the fake encounter," the Bench said referring to the chargesheet filed by the state police before the case was handed over to CBI.

"You can't take advantage to frustrate whole thing," the Bench said and asked Gujarat government not to go ahead with the proceedings in Prajapati case untill another Bench of the apex court adjudicates CBI's plea of handing over the probe of the case to it.

"This is not acceptable. You can't prempt the judicial proceedings. Either you say you will not proceed with the case or we will pass some directions. You take instruction," the Bench said and gave two minutes to Mehta to speak to the authorities.

Mehta returned and informed the Bench that he has got an instruction to assure the bench that till the question pending before another bench was decided there will be no proceedings in Prajapati case before the trial court.