The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday alleged that former Gujarat minister Amit Shah was heading an extortion syndicate culminating in the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
Appearing before a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, additional solicitor general Vivek Tankha, cited statements recorded before the judicial magistrate and disclosure statements by various witnesses who had accused Shah of running an extortion racket.
He cited the purported statements of several real estate owners and businessmen who had testified that the former minister of state for home had let loose a reign of terror by engaging top police officials like D G Vanzara to extort money by threatening to kill them in fake encounters.
Tankha alleged that Tulsiram Prajapati, one of the witnesses, was eliminated by Gujarat police as he knew about the killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi in November 2005.
The CBI had earlier filed an application for cancellation of Shah's bail on the ground that he has considerable clout to intimidate witnesses. The agency had filed the cancellation application after the Gujarat high court had in October last year granted him bail.
The apex court, however, at a special sitting in November last year, directed Shah to leave Gujarat forcing him to stay in Mumbai since then. Earlier, in the day before the commencement of the CBI's submission, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani appearing for Shah insisted that the matter should be heard by a bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha as it was monitoring the fake encounter case.
However, the bench turned down the plea saying the matter was not fully heard. Yet, it gave the liberty to Jethmalani to make a mention of his plea before the chief justice. The senior counsel then said he would not press his demand.
The apex court had earlier transferred the case relating to killing of Prajapati to the CBI on an appeal filed by his mother Narmada Bai alleging that he was killed in a fake encounter by Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the killing of Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi.
It was alleged by CBI and the petitioner that Sohrabuddin, Kauser Bi and another person, suspected to be Prajapati, were 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.
The investigation in the case by CBI had stirred a political controversy after Shah was arrested and charged with killing Sohrabuddin and his wife.