CBI Special Court at Mumbai has discharged Amit Shah, the BJP President, of all charges relating to a case of his involvement in the alleged killing of Soharabuddin and Tulsi Prajapati. I have been following this case actively from the time of its investigation, filing of charges, arrest of Amit Shah and grant of bail to him. I had written a letter on 27th September 2013 to the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in my capacity as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. The letter pertains to misuse of CBI against BJP leadership. In the letter, I had written with regard to these two cases as under:
“Sohrabudin Encounter case
The encounter in which one Sohrabudin Sheikh was killed was an operation allegedly directed by the Intelligence Bureau of the Central Government. It has been a practice that when the Intelligence Bureau processes and develops intelligence, it keeps vigilance on the target. Thereafter when an opportunity arises to arrest the target the State police is associated with the operation. Sohrabudin was a noted mafia who operated in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and was carrying prize on his head in Madhya Pradesh. He was an illegal weapon dealer. He had also been convicted under TADA. The search conducted by Madhya Pradesh police at his premises at village Jharnia, District Ujjain had yielded more than 40 AK-56 rifles, hundreds of AK-56 cartridges and hundreds of hand grenades. He was an absconder from the police agencies of various state governments.
After his encounter on 24/25-11-2005 his brother filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court. The filing of the said petition was also sponsored by Congress Party. The then Addl. Solicitor General of India, Shri Gopal Subramaniam in a pre-conceived and planned move, appeared on day one before the Court and agreed to take instructions from the Central Government. Subsequently, the Attorney General appeared for the Union of India and Gopal Subramaniam designated himself as Amicus Curiae without any specific order of the court appointing him. The Government of India conceded that the investigations be handed over to the CBI. Though the Central Government should be a mere formal party, the then Attorney General used to appear and oppose even motion for adjournments. Since objections were raised with regard to the fairness of the CBI, the Supreme Court ordered investigations by a team of Gujarat Police officers of the State Police under its supervision. The State police reconstructed the encounter, conducted scientific investigation under supervision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and implicated and arrested several police officers including three IPS officers. Upon hearing the arguments of the Union of India and Shri Gopal Subramaniam, the amicus curiae and others, the Supreme Court referred the matter to the CBI. The ground on which the Supreme Court transferred the case to the CBI was that the investigation involved inter-state ramifications and the Andhra Pradesh angle of the matter had not been probed. As a matter of fact the Congress Government in Andhra Pradesh did not cooperate in the investigation by Gujarat police which is a matter of record.
The CBI investigated the case but did not investigate any of the four points, on the basis of which the case was referred to the CBI, which were the points found lacking in Gujarat police investigation. It did not probe the Andhra Pradesh angle of the case seriously. The probable purpose of the CBI in this case was to try and implicate the political establishment of Gujarat, setting aside the pretence of federal character of India’s governance. The CBI targeted Shri Amit Shah, the then Home Minister and also the Minister of Law, Transport & Parliamentary Affairs of the State of Gujarat with the ultimate desire of implicating Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Shockingly, when the Legal department of the CBI opined that there was no case against Shri Amit Shah, the same was responded to by the Supervisory Officer of CBI, putting up a “Note” by observing that the arrest of Amit Shah would enable the CBI to get some more witnesses particularly the police officers since they would then feel intimidated. He also opined that arresting Amit Shah was necessary since it was necessary to reach the eventual target of investigation of Narendra Modi. This note was approved by the Director, CBI, Shri Ashwani Kumar.
The CBI arrested Amit Shah with no prosecutable evidence against him. In order to arrest Amit Shah they relied on the false testimony of two witnesses namely, Ramanbhai Patel and Dashrathbhai Patel, noted land grabbers of Gujarat. Shri Amit Shah, as per the CBI theory in the Charge Sheet, is alleged to have told both of them six months after the encounter that Sohrabudin had left no option for himself. This was incorporated as an extra judicial confession It is noteworthy that both Ramanbhai Patel and Dashrathbhai Patel have criminal antecedents and criminal cases in Gujarat. These two witnesses were felicitated for having given such a deposition against Shri Amit Shah in a function presided over by Shri Shankersinh Waghela, the then President of Gujarat Congress. The testimony of these two witnesses is based upon the alleged extortion from them to help them in PASA detention. The record of the Gujarat Government shows that no detention of these persons under PASA was never in contemplation. Said two witnesses also claimed that they have paid a sum of Rs. 75 lacs to Shri Amit Shah through one Ajay Patel in three different installments with specific dates mentioned by them in their statement. They gave the specific dates of payments on which they allegedly physically handed over the alleged amount to Shri Ajay Patel. They further claimed that they were there through all the dates. This testimony is false without any further probe inter alia on the ground that on some of the dates Ajay Patel was not even in India and his passport establishes this fact. This was a key substance of a frivolous charge sheet filed against Shri Amit Shah. Shri Amit Shah was granted bail on this charge sheet by the Gujarat High Court by a detailed speaking order inter alia holding that there is no prima facie case against Shri Amit Shah. The CBI, however, challenged the said order and upon the request of the CBI, the Supreme Court ordered Shri Amit Shah to remain out of Gujarat and all political activities. He remained outside the State of Gujarat for a period of two years. The said order of the High Court was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Tulsi Prajapati encounter
Tulsi Prajapati was a case built up by the CBI as an extension to the Sohrabudin case. The CBI solicited the investigation of this case by making a specific prayer in the Court. Their ostensible case was that Tulsi Prajapati was a witness to the arrest and disappearance of Sohrabudin while in custody of the police officers and correspondingly he was eliminated by the Gujarat Police. The only evidence mentioned against Shri Amit Shah by the CBI in this case was that he was regularly in touch with one police officer Shri R.K. Pandian, IPS who was an accused in the case. The vast contemporaneous record shows that Shri R.K.Pandian, IPS had been regularly in telephonic contact of Shri Amit Shah much before and after the incident as a part of his official duty since he was also heading the charge of SP, IB (Intelligence) of the State Police looking after political agitations and political activities. Any Home Minister of any State will have to necessarily remain in touch with SP, IB (Intelligence) of the State Police looking after political agitations and political activities since he had to keep himself informed about the activities on a regular basis. Without a point of evidence a separate Charge Sheet was filed against Shri Amit Shah in the Tulsi Prajapati case. Very importantly, though the CBI was under the direction of the Supreme Court to complete the investigation of Tulsi Prajapati case within 6 months from 11-04-2011, the CBI deliberately and as a part of political conspiracy did not obey the direction and filed the Charge Sheet on 04-09-2012 so as to arrest Shri Amit Shah once again just few months before the Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections which were scheduled to be held before December, 2012. Shri Amit Shah had to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Supreme Court vide its order date 08-04-2013 held that no separate charge sheet could be filed in this case since CBI itself had alleged that both the cases were similar and it merged the charge sheet with the Sohrabudin case charge sheet thereby preventing the CBI arresting Shri Amit Shah once again.
Tulsi Prajapati and the arrest of Shri Gulab Chand Kataria, former Home Minister Rajasthan
Shri Gulab Chand Kataria is the former Home Minister of Rajasthan and the present Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly and a very important leader of Rajasthan BJP. He is a complete stranger to even the existence of such persons known as Sohrabudin and Tulsi Prajapati. The CBI filed a supplementary charge sheet against Gulab Kataria wherein it was alleged that the motive of elimination of Tulsi Prajapati by Gulab Kataria was extorting money from marble dealers of Rajasthan namely RK Marbles. As per the CBI there were two motives; one the Gujarat Police wanted to eliminate him in order to eliminate the eye-witness in the Sohrabdun case and the Home Minister of Rajasthan wanted to eliminate him for extorting money from marble dealers. What a co-incidence. It was alleged by the CBI that Shri Gulab Chand Kataria allegedly met one Shri D. G Vanjara, IPS of Gujarat Police allegedly between 26/12/2005 and 28/12/2005 at the Circuit House at Udaipur. The CBI evidence of his presence was that PS of Shri Gulab Chand Kataria was staying in the same Circuit House during that period and Shri D.G.Vanzara, IPS also stayed in the said Circuit House. However, records of the Rajasthan Government conclusively establish that Shri Gulab Chand Kataria along with his wife had flown on 25/12/2005 to Mumbai and stayed there till 2/1/2006. He attended the meeting of the BJP National Executive and thereafter a meeting of the National Council and after celebrating New Year along with his wife, returned to Jaipur on 2/1/2006.”
It is clear from the above that the charges were filed against Amit Shah at the behest of the then political Government. There was legally no admissible evidence against him. Amit Shah’s application for discharge was opposed both by the CBI and Sohrabuddin’s brother. The court heard both their lawyers. The charge was without any basis. The fact that the CBI allowed itself to be misused is a cause for concern.
Since I had analysed the alleged evidence, both during investigation and after the filing of the charge sheet, I was amongst the few voices which had consistently maintained in the past three years that the prosecution of Amit Shah was a case of “No Evidence”. Without analysing the evidence in detail, the media allowed itself to report as was briefed by CBI. Even a vital noting on the CBI file that the implication of Amit Shah was necessary so that the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi could be implicated, was no news for them. I am relieved at the fact that we have an independent judicial system in India which has vindicated Amit Shah.