CBI court discharge Amit Shah in fraud encounter cases
MUMBAI: A Mumbai court has smashed charges against BJP president Amit Shah, in a case stemming from alleged fake encounters almost a decade back, a verdict which will come as huge boost for the senior politician who many regard as the country’s second-most powerful leader after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The case is about the murders in 2005 of one Sohrabuddin Shaikh, supposedly a gangster, his wife Kauser bi and another individual, Tulsiram Prajapati, in 2006. CBI had alleged police officers had killed the three on Shah’s orders, an allegation which Shah and BJP have angrily refused, claiming instead that the case is an outcome of pressure on the federal agency by the UPA government.
In his order, Special CBI Court Judge MB Gosavi appeared to support this contention, upholding the claim of Shah’s defence lawyers that the BJP chief, who was then Gujarat’s home minister, was the victim of political vendetta. “I find substance in the claim of the defence that he was shown to be involved for some political reasons,” said Judge Gosavi, while discharging Shah.
In an elaborate blog post analyzing the case, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, criticised the CBI for having been used as a political tool. Jaitley said CBI had constructed case using fake evidence and false witnesses to implicate Shah with the ultimate intention of embroiling the then Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi.
The blog post reproduces a letter written by Jaitley to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September 2013 in which he had questioned the factual basis of the CBI’s case.
“I was amongst the few voices which had consistently maintained in the past three years that the prosecution of Amit Shah was a case of “No Evidence”. Without analyzing the evidence in detail, the media allowed itself to report as was briefed by CBI.
Even a vital noting on the CBI file that the implication of Amit Shah was necessary so that the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi could be implicated, was no news for them. I am relieved at the fact that we have an independent judicial system in India which has vindicated Amit Shah,” Jaitley said.
Immediately after the verdict, the lawyers representing CBI, who are normally not averse to interacting with the media, did a disappearing act saying that all enquiries should be addressed to their superiors in Delhi.