The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Gujarat government to
pay Rs.1 million in ex-gratia to the mother and three brothers of
Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was wrongly branded a terrorist and killed
by police in a staged shootout in 2005.
A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee
and Justice Aftab Alam also deferred to Sep 2 the issue of
transferring the case for further investigation to a special probe
panel headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation director R.K.
The bench ordered the payment of the
monetary relief to the slain man's family members within a week,
accepting the offer of Rs.1 million made by senior counsel Mukul
Rohtagi on behalf of the Gujarat government.
The state government had already
accepted the criminal liability of some of its police officials in
carrying out the killing of the Ujjain man and also his wife Kausar
Bi in Ahmedabad in November 2005.
The court order came on a lawsuit by
Sohrabuddin Sheikh's terminally ill brother Rubabuddin Sheikh, who
has sought a CBI probe into the killings of his brother and
Though the compensation offer was
promptly accepted by Rubabuddin Sheikh's counsel Dushyant Dave,
Justice Aftab Alam wanted the government to hike the compensation.
"We accept it," said Dave, the moment
Rohtagi disclosed the government's offer of Rs.1 million as an
"We accept it as we are quite
desperate," said the lawyer, who had earlier told the court that
Rubabuddin Sheikh was terminally ill with a "stage III cancer."
Justice Chatterjee too agreed with the
offer, ignoring Justice Alam's reservation over the sum and said, "I
was thinking only in terms of thousands."
Dave also sought to raise a demand of
compensation for Sohrabuddin Sheikh's friend Tulsiram Prajapati, who
too had allegedly been shot dead by the Gujarat police team in
another staged gun battle.
But the plea did not evoke any
response from the bench, while the state government too asserted
that it does admit the allegations that Prajapati's killing was
The bench deferred the issue of
transferring the case to the special probe panel after Rohtagi
asserted that the state government was not amenable to transfer the
probe and said he would like to argue on the legal issues involved.
Sheikh, Kausar Bi and Prajapati were killed after their alleged
abduction by the Gujarat police.
Then deputy inspector general D.G.
Vanzara had announced Sohrabuddin Sheikh's killing in a police
shootout, dubbing him a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist on a mission to
assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other prominent
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
However, the state government admitted
the killings were staged. In a subsequent probe, police have
arrested Vanzara and three other senior police officers, who are
still behind the bars.
The killings had become a major issue
of debate between Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the run-up
to the state assembly elections in December 2007.