Sohrabuddin case: CBI to open arguments on Monday

Sohrabuddin case: CBI to open arguments on Monday

Timeline of the case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday  will open final arguments in the two reported fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati and the rape and murder of Kausar Bi.

Public Prosecutor B P Raju will open arguments before Additional Sessions Judge S J Sharma, who presides over a special CBI court.

Raju is expected to present arguments on Monday and Tuesday. 

Thereafter, the defence lawyers of the 22 accused will argue, which is expected to continue for the next few days.

After that, the Judge would reserve order and is expected to deliver a verdict by the end of this year.

During 2005-6 and the following years, this was one of the most politically-sensitive case in Narendra Modi-ruled Gujarat.

The Supreme Court had ordered the CBI to take over the two cases and shifted the trial from Gujarat to Mumbai.

Of the 38 accused 16 have been discharged including the then Gujarat minister of state for home and now BJP president Amit Shah and Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

Several top police officials including Deputy Inspector General D D Vanzara had been discharged in the case.

Those facing trial include two then deputy superintendents of police, senior inspectors, inspectors, sub-inspectors, head constables and constables of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh police.

Three special judges have presided over the trial— B H Loya, M B Gosavi and S J Sharma.

Judge Loya died on December 1, 2014 of "heart attack", however, a story in a magazine last year resulted into a political furore over his death.

In January, this year, a Supreme Court bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra held that Judge Loya's death was natural.

Accused facing trial

1) ML Parmar

2) Raman Singh

3) Narayansing Dhabi

4) Shyam Singh

5) Abdur Rehman

6) Himanshu Singh Rajawat

7) Balkrishna Choubey

8) Rajubhai Jeerawala

9) Ajay Parmar

10) Shantram Sharma

11) Yudhveer Singh

12) Kartar Singh

13) Narayan Singh Jat

14) Vijaykumar Rathod

15) CP Srinivasa Rao

16) Jethu Solanki

17) Kiran Singh Chauhan

18) Vinod Limbachia

19) Kanjibhai Kutchi

20) Karan Singh Sishodia

21) Ashish Pandya

22) Naresh Chauhan

Those discharged from trail

1) Amit Shah— Minister of state for home, Gujarat (now BJP president)

2) Gulab Chand Katatia— Home minister, Rajasthan

3) Prashant Pande—  DGP, Gujarat

4) Om Prakash Mathur— Additional DGP, Gujarat

5) Geeta Johri— IG, Gujarat

 6) Vimal Patni— marble businessman from Rajasthan

7) D G Vanzara— DIG, Gujarat ATS

8) N S Balasubramanian— SP, Andhra Pradesh

9) Vipul Aggarwal— SP, Gujarat

10) Rajkumar Pandian— SP, Gujarat

11) Dinesh M N— SP, Rajasthan

12) Abhay Chudasama— SP, Gujarat

13) Ajay Patel— Gujarat

 14) Yashpal Singh Chudasama— Gujarat

 15) Narendra Amin— DySP, Gujarat

 16) Dalpat Singh Rathod— Head Constable, Rajasthan

What happened

November 23, 2005: Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati, were abducted by police teams of Gujarat and Rajasthan, when they were travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli.

November 25, 2005: Tulsiram was taken by Rajasthan police to Udaipur and was arrested in a case.

November 26, 2005: Sohrabuddin was shot dead in a reported fake encounter at a place located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The ATS had claimed that he was a notorious gangster with Lashkar-e-Toiba links and was conspiring to "assassinate a senior political leader", presumably the then Gujarat chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi

November 29, 2005: Kausar Bi was raped, strangulated to death and cremated in Illol in Banaskantha district

December 26, 2006: Tulsiram was shot dead in an encounter in Chhapri in Amreli district. According to police version, Tulsiram escaped from custody while being taken from Rajasthan to Gujarat. Later, police launched a manhunt, but opened fire when cornered. In retaliatory fire, Tulsiram died.

Sohrabuddin's brother Rubabuddin and Tulsiram's mother moved the Supreme Court, which transferred the cases from Gujarat-CID to CBI. The trial was also ordered in Mumbai.

Important statements in court

Gangster Azam Khan, who is now in Udaipur jail, as a prosecution witness, claimed two important points:

1) "During a conversation with Sohrabuddin, he told me that he, along with Naeem Khan and Shahid Rampuri, got the contract to kill (then minister of state for home) Haren Pandya and they killed him (on 26 March, 2003 in Ahmedabad). I felt sad and I told Sohrabuddin that they have killed a good person. Sohrabuddin told me that the contract was given by Vanzara."

2) "I met Tulsiram on 23-24 December, when I was being taken into custody in a theft case. He was being taken to Ahmedabad for court hearing. He told me that either of us would be killed."

Amitabh Thakur, former chief investigating officer, claimed that Amit Shah and four others were politically and financially benefitted from the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh.

Sandeep Tamgadge, another chief investigating officer, claimed that Amit Shah, D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N were "principal conspirators" of fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati.

The case in numbers

Total accused: 38

15 accused discharged by special CBI court

1 accused discharged by Bombay High Court

22 accused currently facing trial

210 prosecution witnesses examined

92 witnesses turned hostile

None of the 22 accused brought defence witness

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