Sohrabuddin case: Judge picks holes in CBI theory

Sohrabuddin case: Judge picks holes in CBI theory

Ashish Pandya, then sub-inspector with the Gujarat Police accused of shooting Tulsiram Prajapati, leaves the special CBI court after being acquitted, in Mumbai on Friday. PTI

As he acquitted 22 accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh-Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases and rape-murder of Kausar Bi, the trial judge picked up several holes and missing links in the CBI theory.

"The prosecution has failed to put forth any documentary or substantive evidence, corroborative evidence to suggest or establish the conspiracy by the 22 accused. It has failed to establish all charges levelled against them even after three chargesheets," said Additional Sessions Judge SJ Sharma, who presides over a special CBI court. 

According to him, one of the crucial aspects is the "third person" in the bus. "In the abduction theory, there is a third person along with Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi....the agency could not establish that it was Tulsiram Prajapati," he said.

He went on to add that the "third person" was Tulsiram comes from "hearsay" - what he told jail inmates. "This is not sufficient, not admissible," he said. 

On the encounter of Tulsiram, he said, "The police sub-inspector (Ashish Pandya) sustained wound... there is a ballistic opinion/report. There is evidence of GRP, train guard...the theory that he was abducted from Ahmedabad cannot be accepted."

He also said the prosecution also failed to prove what the then Deputy Inspector General DG Vanzara - who was discharged earlier from the case - spoke to Pandya. "Why Vanzara called Pandya has not come before the court," he said. 

On the Sohrabuddin encounter, he said, “Sohrabuddin died due to bullet injuries that are also substantiated by the post-mortem report but whether these accused were authors of the said crime could not be substantiated. There is circumstantial evidence but no substantial evidence... the nexus (of the accused) with the killing was not established."

However, he said that the CBI did work hard to establish its case - but three key witnesses in the cases had turned hostile. 

"The government machinery (CBI) and the prosecution put in a lot of effort, 210 witnesses were brought but satisfactory evidence didn't come and witnesses turned hostile. No fault of the prosecutor if witnesses don't speak...," the presiding Judge noted.

"Going by the evidence on record, the court could not conclude that the present accused persons could be questioned, or, held accountable for those deaths," he said.