Mumbai, December 7: The Special CBI Court in Mumbai, which has been hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, will pronounce its verdict on December 21. The judgement is likely to have political ramifications, as the case had drawn widespread flak against the erstwhile Gujarat government led by Narendra Modi.
Among the prime accused in the case was BJP national president Amit Shah -- who was discharged by the court in 2014. The CBI was criticised by the Opposition for not appealing against the order. The agency, however, defended its decision, calling it "conscious" and "reasonable". Sohrabuddin Encounter Case: Bombay HC Rejects Plea Against CBI Relief to Amit Shah.
Subsequently, the trial court also dropped all the charges against Gujarat's former anti-terrorism squad chief DG Vanzara. Four other police officials were also acquitted by the court on lack of evidence.
The verdict on December 21 pertains to the role of 22 police officers, belonging to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh -- who were charged as the key accused by the CBI nearly a decade ago.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a criminal, was shot dead in an encounter by the Gujarat police. His wife Kausar Bi was also also killed. The operation, executed by State ATS, was justified by the then government, claiming that the couple were terrorists affiliated to cross-border extremist groups.
Tulsiram Prajapati, who witnessed the killing, had alleged that the encounter was staged with the intent to eliminate Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi. A year later, however, Prajapati was shot dead in another encounter.
The CBI had claimed that Sohrabuddin and Prajapati were eliminated as they were involved in an alleged multi-state extortion racket, involving officials from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. The alleged fake encounter was ordered to prevent the duo from deposing the details of the alleged extortion racket before the court, the investigators had earlier said.