HC gives CBI two days to question Shah

Written by Political Bureau | Ahmedabad | Updated: Aug 7 2010, 06:00am hrs
Setting aside a lower court order, the Gujarat High Court on Friday granted the CBI two-day custody of former Gujarat junior home minister Amit Shah who was arrested for the 2005 killing of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a staged encounter.

The CBI, which had sought his custody for 10 days, was given two days to question Shah. Justice Akil Kureshi also rejected the defence plea for videography of his questioning in CBI custody.

Earlier, a special CBI court had rejected the agency plea for custody of Shah, a close aide of chief minister Narendra Modi. This made the CBI approach the high court.

Mahesh Jethmalani, who was representing Shah, wanted the entire proceedings during the two-day CBI custody videographed but this was opposed by CBI lawyer KTS Tulsi.

In its petition, the CBI had sought quashing of the order passed by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate AY Dave rejecting its plea for remand of Shah. Tulsi submitted that the magistrate had committed an error in holding that because cognisance of offence was taken in a case in which a chargesheet had been filed, the power of police custody or remand had been exhausted.

Shah, former minister of state for home who resigned after a chargesheet was filed against him in the case, was arrested by CBI on charges of murder, extortion and kidnapping. His senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, opposing the remand by the CBI, submitted that the agency had no evidence to arrest his client in the first place. He alleged that the arrest of Shah was to strike terror among other potential witnesses.

Jethmalani said the CBI, by giving a brief note to the magistrate in a sealed cover, was attempting to mislead the court.