SC to hear CBI plea for transfer of Sohrabuddin case



New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to transfer outside Gujarat the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which former State Home Minister Amit Shah, is a key accused, on the ground that witnesses are being intimidated and trial cannot be held in a free and fair manner.

Appearing before a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha alleged that the atmosphere in Gujarat was so vitiated that the CBI was forced to record statements of the witnesses in Mumbai.

"We are forced to record the statements of the witnesses in Mumbai because of the threat received by them. We are not able to assure them any protection because the CBI does not have that much of manpower. It is the duty of the State police to provide protection. But they are not doing so. "If those who are supposed to be the protectors are not giving any protection what can we do?," he submitted before the bench.

Tankha also reiterated the CBI's allegation that the trial judge had become "servile" to the former Home Minister and urged the apex court to transfer the case to any other State to protect the "Majesty of law."

"There was open servility and excessive demonstration of favourable and partisan attitude to Amit Shah by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate.

"He was granted exemption from appearance even without giving a hearing to the CBI," Tankha claimed.

Sohrabuddin and his wife were allegedly abducted by cops of the Gujarat's Anti-Terrorist Squad(ATS) from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.

Tulsiram Prajapati said to be an accomplice of Sohrabuddin was also subsequently eliminated by the ATS, to destroy evidence as he was an eye witness, the CBI has alleged.

PTI