An apex court bench rejected the plea of the Gujarat government that no CBI probe can be ordered as the state police has already filed a charge sheet in the case. The court direction was given on an appeal filed by Narmada Bai, mother of Tulsiram Prajapati, alleging that he was killed in a fake enounter by the Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the November 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi. The apex court said the petitioner had made out a strong case for transfer of investigation to the CBI as there was strong suspicion about the involvement of police personnel from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The bench, however, clarified that whatever observation made in this judgement shall not have any influence on the trial judge dealing with the case. The apex court also criticised the tardy investigations conducted by the Gujarat police in the killings, in which, besides politicians, top police officials are also involved. The bench regretted that the State police took more than three-and-a-half years to file the charge sheet after the killings. The Gujarat government had strongly opposed a CBI probe on the ground that Prajapati’s killing was a separate encounter and in no way connected to the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
The Gujarat Government had opposed the CBI’s taking over the case on the ground that the Centre was trying to implicate the former State Home Minister and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the encounter deaths. Investigation by the CBI had stirred a political controversy after Shah was arrested and charged with killing Sohrabuddin and his wife.