All 22 accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter killing were acquitted today by a court in Mumbai, reported NDTV.
The court said that the witnesses and evidence was not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and murder. “A Special CBI judge said the circumstantial evidence was not substantial. The accused were mostly police officers from Gujarat and Rajasthan,” the report added.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the case, said the murders were a result of conspiracy for political and financial gains. Of the 38 people charged, 16 people – including BJP chief Amit Shah, former top cop DG Vanzara and other police officers — were discharged. Ninety-two prosecution witnesses had turned hostile.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in an encounter in November 2005, and was linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit, accused of conspiring to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the NDTV quoted police.
The CBI said Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster, his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati were abducted by Gujarat police from a bus when they were on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad in November 22, 2005. Four days later, Sohrabuddin was killed near Ahmedabad, the CBI said. Kausar Bi, who had allegedly disappeared, was taken to a village in Banaskantha district, raped and murdered on November 29, the agency said.
On December 27, 2006, Tulsiram Prajapati was shot dead by Gujarat and Rajasthan police near Chapri on Gujarat-Rajasthan border, the CBI said.