NEW DELHI (TIP): Former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, who in facing the charge of abetting killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife in a fake encounter, can campaign with chief minister Narender Modi for the assembly elections as the Supreme Court on September 28 lifted the exile on him.
Upholding the Gujarat high court order that allowed bail to Shah, the SC, however, said the murder trial would be shifted to Mumbai in view of the apprehension expressed by concerned petitioner that a fair trial isn’t possible in the BJP-ruled state.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai partially dismissed the CBI’s appeal. The agency had sought quashing of bail given to Shah and also shifting of the trial venue. It had said that Shah would try to influence witnesses in the case. It had said that Shah was a powerful minister till he was charged in the case and was subsequently arrested and sent to jail in 2010.
After three months in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati jail, Shah was granted bail but told to leave Gujarat. He started living in the Gujarat guest house in Delhi, a source said.
The chargesheet filed by the CBI says Shah was allegedly involved in the killing of Tulsiram Prajapati, an eye witness to Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s encounter. According to the chargesheet, a small time history sheeter, Sohrabuddin, and his wife Kauser Bi were abducted by the Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005. Shah was the state’s home minister and the CBI charges that it was under his instructions that the state’s trigger-happy police acted.
Shah’s lawyer has maintained that he was a victim of politics and he had been used as a poster body by the anti-Modi political parties.