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SC Orders CBI Probe Into Sohrabuddin Encounter Case

PTI 12 Jan 2010, 20:34:28 IST

The Narendra Modi government in Gujarat on Tuesday suffered a setback with the Supreme Court directing a CBI probe into the 2005 Soharabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

A bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Aftab Alam in its verdict accepted the demand for the probe on the plea of the brother of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat Police.

The decision is a major blow to the BJP government in Gujarat, which has been consistently maintaining that it's SIT was conducting the probe in an impartial manner.

Suspended DIG D G Banjara and R K Pandiyan (both Gujarat cadre IPS officers) besides Dinesh M N (Rajasthan cadre IPS officer) are the main accused in the encounter killing. DSP, Gujarat, N K Ameen is also an accused in the case. All of them are in judicial custody.

Sohrabuddin along with his wife Kauser Bi and another person was picked up during a joint operation by the police of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh from a bus on their way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra on November 22, 2005.

He was gunned down allegedly in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police's Anti-Terrorist Squad which claimed that he had come to the city to eliminate Chief Minister Modi.

The accused cops are also alleged to have killed Soharabuddin's wife Kauser Bi and their accomplice Tulsi Ram Prajapati to destroy evidence.

Welcoming the Supreme Court order directing the CBI to investigate the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday said Gujarat was "not exempted" from the enforcement of law.

"Rule of law applies to every territory...territory of Gujarat is not exempted from the enforcement of the rule of law," he said here.

Moily said Gujarat government was "mistaken" in thinking that "in the name of encounter you can kill anybody".

The Law Minister asserted that anybody, "however high or low he may be," is bound by the rule of law, including the state governments and the Centre.

When reminded that Congress had also demanded a CBI probe into the 2005 encounter, he said "It is not a question of Congress party, it is the question of rule of law." PTI