No separate case against Shah in Prajapati case

No separate case against Shah in Prajapati case

Days after his elevation as the BJP general secretary, Amit Shah on Monday got a big relief from the Supreme Court which quashed the CBI’s FIR in connection with the 2006 Tulsiram Prajapati murder case.

The apex court held that it was part of the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, which was investigated by the CBI.

Tulsiram was said to be a witness to the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi in 2005.

After the apex court nod, the CBI filed a fresh FIR on April 29, 2011, and a charge sheet was filed against Shah on September 4, 2012, naming him as the prime accused.

Shah, however, contended that Prajapati case could at best be treated as an offshoot of Sohrabuddin case, in which he had already remained in custody.Allowing a challenge made by the former Gujarat home minister, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said the second FIR was “unwarranted” and “violative” of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (Right to Equality), 20 (Protection in respect of conviction of offences) and 21 (Right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

The bench reminded the agency that while directing the CBI to take over investigation of Prajapati case, the court had “categorically” accepted the plea that his killing was a part of the same series of cognisable offence forming part of the first FIR.

The court also pointed out that it had then declined the CBI’s request for a fresh FIR.“The present action of the CBI filing fresh FIR is contrary to various judicial pronouncements,” the bench said. The bench ordered that the second charge sheet filed against Shah would be treated as a supplementary one in the Sohrabuddin case.

The court said a fine balance has to be struck between the fundamental rights of the accused and “expansive” power of the police to investigate a case.

“The sweeping power of investigation does not warrant subjecting a citizen each time to fresh investigation by the police in respect of the same incident, giving rise to one or more cognisable offences,” the bench said.

The CBI lodged an FIR on February 1, 2010, to investigate killing of an alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin and his wife  following the apex court direction.

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