The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a petition questioning the CBI’s decision of not challenging a lower court order discharging Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
A two-judge division bench said that it could not grant the relief sought in the plea filed by the Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA) in January. The rejection of the plea comes as a relief to Shah.
The petitioner’s counsel Dushyant Dave questioned why the CBI did not challenge the discharge given to Shah by a Special CBI court in 2014 when it could challenge the discharge of two police officers in the same case.
But Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh, representing the CBI, argued that there was no law making it compulsory for the CBI to challenge every discharge given by a court.
He also asked that when Shah was discharged in 2014, why had the BLA taken nearly four years to approach the court for relief.
“We are dismissing the petition. We are not inclined to grant any relief, especially when the petitioner is a body which has no locus standi in the case,” said the Bench comprising Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre in its ruling.
A wanted criminal Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in an alleged fake encounter in November 2004 by the Gujarat Police near Gandhinagar, which became sensational owing to some of the high-profile politicians and IPS officers involved in it.
An aide, Tulsiram Prajapati, who was the prime witness to the killings, was arrested by the police and later killed in an encounter in December 2006 after the law enforcers claimed he tried to escape from custody.
Later, the police had named 38 persons as accused in the case, including Shah, who was Gujarat Home Minister at the time in 2005. Subsequently the trial was shifted from Gujarat to Mumbai.
In December 2014, Special CBI Judge MB. osavi in Mumbai discharged Shah and 16 other co-accused, citing either lack of sanction for prosecution or insufficient evidence against them.
(With inputs from agencies.)