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Gujarat agrees to stay trial in Prajapati killing

Tuesday December 14, 2010 07:22:20 PM, IANS

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Witness in Prajapati encounter case injured in attack

Azam Khan, who had given evidence in the killing of Tulsiram Prajapati - an eyewitness to the alleged staged killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh - was injured after he was shot at by unknown assailants in Rajasthan's Udaipur city  

New Delhi: The Gujarat government Tuesday assured the Supreme Court that it will not proceed with the trial in Tulsiram Prajapati shootout case. He was the prime witness in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged killing.

Prajapati was killed in a shootout while being brought from Rajasthan to Gujarat.

The Gujarat government gave its undertaking to the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha after the court asked it to either give an undertaking on its own or it would issue directions.

Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta gave the undertaking on behalf of the state government.

The state government's undertaking came in the wake of senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), telling the court that the state was rushing with the case.

Tulsi said this was being done by the state government to complicate the issue.

The court told the state: "You can't take advantage and frustrate the whole thing."

Tulsi asked the court to stay the trial and secure the case records. He also told the court that records of different cases were going missing.

Counsel appearing for Rubabuddin Sheikh (brother of Sohrabuddin Sheikh) pleaded that the Prajapati case should be handed over to the CBI. The arguments in the case would continue Jan 27, 2011.

In a case connected with Gujarat's former minister of state for home Amit Shah, the CBI said that its investigations have revealed his links with an "extortion syndicate" operating in the state.

The CBI sought the transfer of the trial of this case outside Gujarat and shifting Shah to a jail outside the state.

The court was told that Sohrabuddin Sheikh too was an operative of the extortion syndicate but he was killed in a shootout after he fell out with it.

Tulsi told the court that senior Gujarat police officer Geetha Johri misled the court on her investigations in Sheikh's killing.

He said the a politicians-police-criminal nexus surfaced in the course of the CBI's investigation. Tulsi referred to the report of the N.N. Vohra Committee that inquired into politicians' and bureaucrats' links with the underworld.

Shah's senior counsel Ram Jethmalani told the court: "It was a superstructure of the fabricated evidence created by the CBI."

When the court asked Jethmalani that it wanted an assurance that witnesses would not be influenced, the senior counsel told the court that his client would do nothing that would derail justice.

At this, the court said "Your client may not be doing it but, at times, agents are more active than the accused." It added: "You have to control these agents."




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