GR News Desk | New Delhi
The Special CBI court in Mumbai Friday acquitted all 22 accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Tulsiram Prajapati and the murder of Shaikh’s wife Kausa Bi. Citing lack of evidence against the accused, the court pronouncing the verdict ruled that the prosecution failed to put forth any “documentary and substantive evidence” to suggest or establish the alleged conspiracy.
Following the judgment, defence lawyer briefing the media said, “All 22 accused have been acquitted in the case, no charge could be proved against anyone. The Court has accepted that Sohrabuddin died of bullet injuries but it could not be proved that the accused were allegedly involved. In the matter of the Kausar Bi case, the court mentioned that the prosecutor is not responsible for witnesses turning hostile.”
The CBI had accused the 22 of abducting and killing Shaikh in an alleged fake encounter in November 2005, while wife Kaushar Bi was killed days later and Prajapati in December of 2006. One of the major issue that prosecution has faced over the years is the witnesses turning hostile during the process of the proceedings. 92 of the 210 witnesses had turned hostile in the case.
The accused included senior serving and retired police officials from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. According to news agency PTI, Of the accused, 21 are junior-level police officials from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The other was the owner of a farmhouse in Gujarat where Shaikh and Kausar Bi were illegally detained before they were allegedly killed.
Meanwhile, reacting to the CBI Court’s judgment retired SP Narendra Amin, a co-accused who was discharged in the case tweeted, “Late but not the least ultimately justice is done. Our team suffered irreversible loss due to fake cases. Politically motivated cases proved fake and not the encounter. Congratulations to officers and families of the officer who are actual victims.”