3 accused in Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case granted bail
The Bombay High Court has granted bail to three police officers accused in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh in Gujarat in 2005.
Justice A R Joshi granted bail to the three police officers -- Abhaysinh Chudasama, Dinesh M N and M L Parmar -- on bonds of Rs one lakh each with one or two sureties of the like amount.
The Judge, while granting bail to three accused, yesterday observed that it was primarily in view of the fact that the Supreme Court has granted bail to two other accused in the case.
The court's order comes within a month of the Supreme Court's order granting bail to suspended IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian, who faces serious charges in the elimination of Shaikh, his wife Kausarbi and the subsequent killing of Tulsiram Prajapati, a witness in the earlier encounter.
Citing Pandian's case, the accused had mainly sought bail on parity. Pandian was released on the apex court's orders on March 28 on the grounds the trial did not seem possible in the near future.
The court has asked them to make an appearance on the first Sunday every month before the special CBI court in Mumbai, where they are facing trial in the case. It has also directed them not to threaten or induce any of the prosecution witnesses and also surrender passports with the investigation officer, if any and if not already surrendered.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Pandian had played a key role in picking up the Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi from Hyderabad before they were killed in the alleged fake encounter.
Both Sheikh and his wife were allegedly abducted by Gujarat's Anti-Terrorist Squad from Hyderabad and killed in suspected fake encounters near Gandhinagar in November 2005.
The CBI had also chargesheeted former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, BJP leader from Rajasthan Gulab Chand Kataria and Andhra Pradesh IGP (Intelligence) N Balasubramanyam, among others in connection with the encounter.
In 2012, the apex court had directed to shift the trial to Maharashtra from Gujarat as the CBI contended that the witnesses in the case were being intimidated.
(Posted on 29-04-2014)