If Amin spills the beans, he may get away with a lighter sentence but the noose will tighten on the other accused. Hearing of Amin's application to turn approver was deferred till August 3 by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate A I Raval.
In a related development, the CBI today arrested Rajendra Jirawala, owner of Arham farm where alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were kept for questioning, in connection with the case. Rajendra, who has a house in Arham farm, was called for questioning on Tuesday. He was arrested later, CBI said.
He was later produced in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate for remand and charged by CBI for criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and wrongful confinement. Rajendra is the brother of Surendra Jirawala, who is a BJP corporator in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar bi were allegedly shifted to the Arham farm from Disha farm on the night of November 25, 2005. The next day Sohrabuddin was killed in the encounter by Gujarat police. Kausar bi was allegedly kept at the Arham farm for the next few days before she was killed, her body was burnt and ashes were thrown in Narmada river near Bharuch.
The eight accused, including three suspended IPS officers Vanzara, Dinesh M N and Rajkumar Pandian, have informed the court through their lawyer Prayesh Limbachia that they have objection to Amin's application to turn approver. Amin, who was suspended as Assistant Commissioner Police, city Crime Branch, is in the Sabarmti jail along with 15 other police officers for their alleged involvement in the case.
Limbachia, representing the accused, stood up in the court when the court proceedings were on and said that they should be made party to the case. He said they will file a detailed affidavit listing their objections to Amin turning approver during the next hearing of the case.
Amin, through his lawyers, had yesterday filed an application in the court to become approver and had also asked the court to grant him pardon in the case. His application had come a day after former minister of state for home of Gujarat Amit Shah was arrested by CBI in the fake encounter case.
The hearing was adjourned as Amin's lawyer had to leave immediately due to a family related matter. Amin's another application for being shifted from Sabarmati jail to another prison was rejected by the court.
The court, however, has instructed the jail authorities to ensure that Amin is kept in a separate cell from the other accused.
Amin said he feared for his life as the other accused in the case were agitated over what was being written about the case in the newspapers for the last couple of days.
Amin was ACP before being arrested in 2007 based on the statement of a witness involved in the operation of abducting Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar bi.
His plea for turning approver was opposed by the other accused police officers on the ground that he was a co-conspirator.
The CBI has also issued non-bailable warrants against two close aides of former minister Amit Shah who were used to allegedly threaten and influence witnesses in the fake encounter case. The warrants were issued against Ajay Patel, chairman of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and a director,Yashpal Chudasama.
According to the chargesheet filed by CBI, after the probe in the fake encounter was transferred to CBI in January this year, Shah directed Patel and Chudasama to "convince, coerce, threaten, influence the witnesses on his behalf to conceal the truth from CBI, about the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin."
The agency said Patel conveyed a message to two witnesses Raman Patel and Dashrat Pate, both leading builders, that what they would be deposing before CBI would be supplied to them in the form of written statements by DCP Abhay Chudasama, who is also an accused in the case.Both the witnesses had four meetings with middlemen sent by Shah at four different places.
The meetings were videographed by the two witnesses in a discreet manner. The recordings have been seized by the CBI."The transcript of these meetings revealed obstruction and influencing the witnesses of this case by Amit Shah and Abhay Chudasama," the chargesheet said.
"The audio-visual records also indicate that Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasama had actively participated in the main conspiracy and the crime committed in furtherance to the conspiracy," it added. The chargesheet said that complaint was filed against Sohrabuddin at the behest of Shah who was under pressure from the marble lobby in neighbouring Rajasthan state.
These merchants were being harassed by Sohrabuddin, who made frequent demands for hefty protection money, it said.