SC pulls up CBI for questioning Gujarat judiciary's fairness

SC pulls up CBI for questioning Gujarat judiciary's fairness

Taking strong exception to the agency's plea that lower judiciary in Gujarat will not deal with the case impartially, a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai sought its explanation for making the statement.

"Let us know whether you want to retain it (allegations against judicial system) or you want to delete it," the bench asked the CBI as the Gujarat government pointed out the allegations made by the agency in its petition to the apex court, challenging the Gujarat High Court order granting bail to 46-year-old Shah in the fake encounter case.

The CBI petition had also sought transfer of the case to a place outside Gujarat.

"Why you said so? It's contemptuous. Why and how did you say this?," the bench asked.

Replying to the court's query, Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha, appearing for the CBI, submitted that he will satisfy the court on these allegations and wants to retain them.

The Gujarat government, however, strongly opposed the agency's plea and contended that the allegations levelled by the CBI for not getting free and fair trial were unfounded and baseless.

It also pleaded that there will be no law and order problem in the state during the trial and the case must not be shifted out.

Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was arrested by the CBI on July 25 last year and had to spent over three months in Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad.

Shah has been accused by the agency of being the "kingpin" of the conspiracy leading to the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in November 2005. His wife Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati, said to be his accomplice, were also killed later.

During the last hearing, Shah had contended before the apex court that he was implicated in the case because the Centre wanted to "destabilise" the Narendra Modi government.

Sohrabuddin and his wife were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad.

Prajapati was also subsequently eliminated allegedly by ATS to destroy evidence as he was an eye witness, according to CBI.