The Gujarat government admitted on Friday before the Supreme Court that the husband of a woman who had gone missing two years ago, was killed in a fake encounter with the police and it was taking immediate action against the erring personnel.
The state government, however, maintained that at the moment it could not disclose much about the incident relating to the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, allegedly in an ecounter in 2005, after which the whereabouts of his wife Kauser Bi was not known.
"The preliminary enquiry has found that it was a fake encounter. We do not want to disclose much of it at this moment. We are taking immediate action," senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the Gujarat government told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.
He said futher inquiry was in progress and sought four weeks to submit detail report about it.
The court had issued notice on Monday to the state government, asking it to explain the circumstances in which Kauser Bi went missing.
Police had claimed that Sohrabuddin was killed in a joint operation by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in 2005.
Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of Soharabuddin, has filed a petition seeking CBI probe into the incident, alleging that police has concocted a story of encounter and his sister-in- law has been missing since then.
The Gujarat government told the Bench, also comprising Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R V Raveendran, that all steps will be taken to provide protection to Rubabuddin, who allegedly was receiving threats to withdraw the petition.
"We (Gujarat) will give all protection to him even if he is outside the state," Tulsi said.
Rubabuddin, who is residing in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, had brought to the notice of the court that he has been receiving threats and pressurised to withdraw the petition otherwise he would be branded as terrorist.
The Gujarat government said it has written a letter to the Madhya Pradesh government about its concern for the safety and security of Rubabuddin.
The Centre had submitted a report about the incident in a sealed envelope before the court and had said the Anti-Terrorist Squad of Gujarat police, which, along with the Special Task Force of Rajasthan Police, was allegedly involved in the encounter, had filed a closure report about the case.
However, later, an inquiry by the senior police officer of the rank of inspector general, gave reports about the alleged encounter that was contradictory to the police theory, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian had said.
Police had alleged that the encounter had taken place while Soharbuddin was on a motorcycle but the report by the senior officer suggests that the victim was picked up from an inter-state bus while travelling from Andhra Pradesh to Gujarat via Rajasthan, the ASG had said.
He had claimed that the inquiry report based on the statement of some witnesses who were travelling in the bus substantiated the allegation that the person who was killed in an encounter was in the same bus.