Transfer encounter case out of Gujarat: CBI to SC

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 1 2010, 03:35am hrs
Filing a status report in the Supreme Court on its six-month investigation into the 2005 killing of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, the CBI today sought immediate transfer of the case from Gujarat for a fair trial.

Quoting the report, sources said the CBI expressed apprehension that the influence of senior politicians and police officers could deprive the agency of a conducive atmosphere to conduct further investigations or prosecute.

The CBI sought permission from the SC for further investigation into the involvement of the political leadership of both Gujarat and Rajasthan in the alleged encounter. Sources said the involvement of the political leadership could go beyond the arrested Gujarat junior home minister Amit Shah. The agency, the sources said, was looking at documents which allegedly have references to others.

The agency is primarily probing the killing of Tulsiram Prajapati who was reportedly accompanying Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi in a bus when they were taken away by Gujarat policemen.

Sources said the killing of Prajapati took place just when the then investigating officer, Geeta Johri, had decided to examine him as a witness to the kidnapping. Sources confirmed that the political leadership in Rajasthan was also under the scanner. The CBI expects that the statements of police officers who have been summoned, including P C Pande, O P Mathur and Geeta Johri, will shed some light on the role of the political leadership that goes beyond Shah.

Pande eventually retired as Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau while Mathur retired as Director General, Communication. Mathur was one of the officers under whose supervision the Sohrabuddin case was investigated by the CID (Crime).