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Apex court orders CBI to probe Sohrabuddin’s killing

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 08:29:26 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the probe into the killings of Ujjain resident Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi by a Gujarat police team in November 2005.

A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice Aftab Alam ordered the CBI to probe afresh the couple’s killing, and divested the state police of the investigation.


Asking the Gujarat police to hand over to the CBI all documents and probe reports pertaining to the killings, the bench directed the central agency to complete its investigations preferably within six months.


The apex court ordered the probe transfer to the CBI on a lawsuit by Sohrabuddin’s brother, who expressed distrust of the state police and pointed out several tell-tale lacunae in the investigation.


“In the facts and circumstances even at this stage, the police authorities of the state are directed to hand over the records of the present case to CBI authorities within a fortnight from this date and thereafter the CBI authorities shall take up the investigation and complete the same within six months from the date of taking over the case,” the bench ruled.


“Authorities (of the CBI) shall investigate all aspects of the case relating to the killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi, including the alleged possibility of a larger conspiracy,” ruled the court.


With police teams of three states allegedly involved in the killings, the apex court said: “We expect that the police authorities of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan shall co-operate with the CBI in the investigation.”


The court transferred the probe to the CBI despite the fact that the Gujarat police have already completed the probe and filed the charge sheet in the case.


“Considering the nature of crime that has been allegedly committed not by any third party but by Gujarat police personnel, the investigation concluded in the present case cannot be said to be satisfactorily,” said the bench.


“Since the high police officials of Gujarat are involved and some of them had already been in custody, we are of the view that to instil confidence in the minds of the victims as well as of the public, it will not be sufficient to allow state police itself to continue with the investigation,” said the bench.


Sohrabuddin was allegedly shot dead by the Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in November 2005. Soon after, Sohrabuddin’s wife Kausar Bi went missing. It was alleged that his wife and the couple’s friend Tulsiram Prajapati, who too was a witness to Sohrabuddin’s killing, were also killed by the police to destroy evidence.


Deputy Inspector General D.G. Vanzara had, soon after the killing, said that Sohrabuddin was killed in a police shootout and had dubbed him a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist on a mission to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other prominent Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.


During the probe into the alleged staged killings, the state police have booked several of its officers, including Vanzara and a police officer from Rajasthan, and arrested them for their role in the killings.












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