CBI gets more time to probe Sohrabuddin killing


New Delhi : Rejecting the contentions of senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, the Supreme Court Thursday gave another three months to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete its probe into the larger conspiracy in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case including the killing of his aide Tulsiram Prajapati.

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Taking umbrage over the way CBI had conducted itself so far, Jethmalani had opposed the CBI request for six-month extension to complete its investigation into the larger conspiracy angle of the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Kausarbi in a staged shootout in 2005.

Jethmalani said there was a conspiracy to demolish the Gujarat government by implicating Amit Shah and Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the alleged larger conspiracy associated with the case. He said, “The conspiracy was hatched at the highest level of politics in the country that government of Gujarat must be demolished by implicating the home minister and the chief minister.”

Appearing for former minister of state for home Amit Shah currently in judicial custody, Jethmalani said that he was not opposed to further investigation but was opposed to CBI doing it. He argued that even the Supreme Court was left with no scope to monitor the investigations after CBI had filed the charge sheet in the matter on July 23, 2010.

Declining to accept the objections raised by the senior counsel, the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha said it was proceeding on the basis of the Jan 12, 2010, judgment of this (apex) court by which it had ordered the CBI to investigate all aspects of the case including the larger conspiracy.

Observing that the probe was not over, the court granted CBI another three months time to complete its investigation and file a status report.

The court also noted that Jethmalani wanted the recall or modification of the Jan 12, 2010 verdict of the court. The Court said that it was not aware how this could be achieved but if senior counsel had some remedy then he could pursue it.

On being asked by the court, the Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said the probe agency had yet to complete the investigation as mandated by the apex court and it should be give more time to do so.

Senior Counsel K.T.S. Tulsi said that if the CBI had not filed the charge sheet on July 23, 2010, then one of the prime accused would have got compulsory bail. Tusli said this in response to a query by Justice Lodha as to what was the significance of July 23, 2010, for filing the charge sheet.

The hearing had its heated moments when Jethmalani said that Justice Tarun Chatterjee (since retired) must not have given the Jan 12, 2010 judgment as he was himself under the scanner of CBI after he was named in the provident fund scam.

Taking objections to Jethmalani’s plea, senior counsel Dushyant Dave said “You are attacking the Supreme court for four weeks from outside. Now you are doing from inside the court by attacking the judges. Don’t bring your politics, cheap politics in the court.”

When Jethmalani said that he had not attacked the court, Dave said that “Your chief minister is doing.” At this both of them exchanged heated “You stop”, “You stop” exchanges.

Dave asked Jethmalani not to teach him ethics as everything was known about him.

Dave who appeared for Sohrabuddin’s brother Robabuddin Sheikh said that the accused (Amit Shah) had no right to decide as to which investigating agency would investigate him.

The situation came to a pass when Justice Lodha had to tell that if senior lawyers did not restrain themselves then they (Bench) would adjourn the hearing and rise for the day.

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati said, “I don’t want to take up cudgels with his (Jethmalani’s) allegations as they are baseless.”

Justice Alam told Jethmalani “Your statement has hurt me. It will hurt more your great reputation.”

Jethmalani: “I have nothing to lose, I have no reputation left. And if in discharge of my responsibility for getting justice if I lose it I don’t care.”

At one stage while Dave objected to Jethmalani’s submission, Justice Lodha said “Let us hear and decide the matter judiciously. Let him ask for the ‘moon’ we will decide what he gets.”