Prajapati case: Guj Court reserves order on jurisdiction
Danta (Guj): A local court on Saturday reserved its order on the issue of jurisdiction over the chargesheet filed by CBI in Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case in which ex-Gujarat Minister Amit Shah is one of the 20 accused.
Geeta Ahir, Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in Banaskantha district, about 150km from Ahmedabad, will pronounce her order on September 18.
Former IPS officers OP Mathur, PC Pande, suspended senior officer Rajkumar Pandian and ex-investigator of the case RK Patel, who were also named as accused, had filed separate applications objecting to the filing of chargesheet in Danta instead of in the Special CBI Court in Ahmedabad, where FIR of this case was filed by CBI on April 29, 2011.
"When CBI filed the FIR in the Special Court in Ahmedabad, it clearly implied that Special CBI Court is the only Court which has jurisdiction (to hear the case)," argued SV Raju, the counsel for Mathur and the other three.
He cited a notification issued by Gujarat High Court assigning special powers and jurisdiction to two courts in Ahmedabad over all the cases registered by CBI in the state.
"Only this Special Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Ahmedabad has the jurisdiction to not only take the cognisance of the chargesheet but the committal of this chargesheet to Sessions Court," argued Raju.
"Even the Supreme Court had, while transferring the case from Gujarat CID-Crime, directed CBI to file all papers, including FIR, in the Special Court. So by submitting the chargesheet here in regular Court, CBI has violated the SC order," he maintained.
The counsel requested the JMFC Court to not to take cognisance of the chargesheet. As per Section 190 of CrPC, the Danta Court is not bound to take the cognisance. Hence, it should ask CBI to take the chargesheet to Special CBI Court in Ahmedabad, Raju argued.
Opposing the arguments of the accused, CBI today claimed
that Danta Court was the only Court which has jurisdiction in this case as Prajapati, an eyewitness to the encounter of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, was killed in the territory under its authority.
"Encounter took place in Danta, first FIR, two charge- sheets (by CID) were filed here and this court committed the case to the Sessions Court of Banaskantha before Supreme Court stayed the proceedings and later transferred the case to CBI," said advocate Ejaz Khan, who appeared for CBI.
He claimed the Sessions Court in Palanpur (Banaskantha district headquarters) has the sole jurisdiction to conduct the trial and not the court in Ahmedabad.
He argued the Special CBI Courts in Ahmedabad have jurisdiction only over anti-corruption cases and not over criminal ones such as murder (some accused in Prajapati encounter are facing murder charge).
After hearing both sides, the Court reserved the order for pronouncement on September 18.
On September 10, Danta Court had ordered Registrar of the Court to take on record the chargesheet and all documents submitted to it by Investigating Officer of the case Sandip Tamgade on September 4.
Prajapati was killed in a fake encounter allegedly by Gujarat Police at Chhapri near here on December 28, 2006.
Shah, a close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and a former Minister of State for Home, is among 20 people named by CBI in its chargesheet. He has been charged with criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
Pande, a former DGP, Mathur, IPS officers DG Vanzara, Geetha Johri and Deputy SP RK Patel were also named in the chargesheet submitted in the Court of Judicial Magistrate DR Joshi at Danta.
Some of the IPS officers named in the Prajapati episode like Vanzara and Pandian, are also facing charges in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and are currently in jail.