NEW DELHI: All 22 accused in the alleged fake encounter case of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsi Prajapati has been acquitted by Special CBI Court due to lack of evidence on Friday.
Charges were framed against the 22 of murder, abduction and destruction of evidence.
Out of the 22, 21 are junior-level police officials from Gujarat and Rajasthan. One was the owner of a farmhouse in Gujarat where Shaikh and Kausar Bi were reportedly illegally detained.
Special CBI Judge S J Sharma ruled the prosecution has failed to put forth any "documentary and substantive evidence" to suggest or establish the alleged conspiracy.
Those acquitted are:
1. Mukesh Kumar Laljibhai Parmar, then Deputy Superintendent of police, Gujarat ATS
2. Narayansingh Harisingh Dhabi, police inspector, Gujarat ATS
3. Balkrishna Rajendra Prasad Chaubey, then sub-inspector, Gujarat police, now an inspector
4. Abdul Rehman, police inspector, Rajasthan
5. Himanshu Singh Rajawat, sub-inspector, Rajasthan police
6. Shyam Singh Jai Singh Charan, sub-inspector, Rajasthan
7. Ajay Kumar Bhagwandas Parmar, police constable, Gujarat
8. Santaram Sharma, police constable, Gujarat police
9. Naresh Vishnubhai Chauhan, sub-inspector, Gujarat police
10. Vijay Kumar Rathod, Inspector, Gujarat police
11. Rajendra Kumar Jirawala, owner of Arham Farm, Ahmedabad
12. Ghattamaneni Shriniwas Rao, sub-inspector, Andhra Pradesh police
13. Aashish Arunkumar Pandya, sub-inspector, Gujarat police
14. Narayan Singh Chauhan, ASI, Rajasthan police
15. Yuvdhvir Singh Chauhan, police constable, Rajasthan
16. Kartar Singh Jat, police constable, Rajasthan
17. Jethusingh Solanki, constable, Gujarat police
18. Kanjibhai Kutchi, constable, Gujarat police
19. Vinod Kumar Limbachiya, constable, Gujarat police
20. Kiransinh Chauhan, head constable, Gujarat police
21. Karan Sihn Sisodiya, constable, Gujarat police
22. Ramanbhai Patel, deputy SP, Gujarat police
In November 2005, gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were abducted by Gujarat's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) while en route to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad and killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar, says the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI. His wife too disappeared.
Prajapati, Sheikh's aide and an eyewitness to the encounter, was also allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat's Banaskantha district in December 2006.
In 2013, the CBI had charge-sheeted BJP chief Amit Shah and 18 others, including several police officers.
A CBI court later gave Shah a clean chit in the case.
The case was transferred to Mumbai in September 2012 on the request of the CBI which said it was necessary to ensure a fair trial. In 2013, the Supreme Court clubbed the Sheikh and Prajapati encounter cases.
Earlier this year, CBI court also released former Gujarat Indian Police Service (IPS) officers D G Vanzara and Dinesh MN.