A special CBI court in Mumbai discharged BJP President Amit Shah in the fake encounter case relating to killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati. Shah was accused of being party to the conspiracy.
All charges were dropped against Shah after the special court accepted his discharge application. This means that Shah will not have to face trial in the case any more. Taking into account the alleged threat to witnesses, the Supreme Court had transferred the trial of the case from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
On November 10, 2014, the CBI court had granted exemption from appearance to BJP President Amit Shah, an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, till the framing of charges.
Shah had sought permanent exemption but the court had granted him exemption only till the charges are framed, a stage which is followed by commencement of trial.
In September 2013, the CBI had chargesheeted Shah - the former Home Minister of Gujarat - and 18 others, including several police officers. Shah was charged with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and offences under the Arms Act.
According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were kidnapped by Gujarat's Anti-Terrorism Squad in November 2005 and killed in a fake encounter. The Gujarat Police had claimed Sohrabuddin had links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba and planned to assassinate important political leaders.
A year later in December 2006, Tulsiram Prajapati, a witness to the encounter, was killed by the Gujarat Police, who claimed he had been trying to escape from custody. The CBI alleges that Shah, who was Gujarat's home minister at the time, was involved in both killings as the police reported to him.
Shah, who was in the Gujarat cabinet led by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, stepped down in 2010 after he was arrested in the case. He got bail three months later. The CBI had said that Tulsiram Prajapati, an eyewitness to the fake encounter, was also killed by the police in another fake encounter at Chapri village in Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 2006. Both cases are being heard simultaneously in the Mumbai Court.
CBI has charge-sheeted 37 accused including Shah, who was Minister of State for Home of Gujarat when these encounters had taken place, and several police officers in the two cases.