Sohrabuddin fake encounter case: No need for government sanction to prosecute cops, CBI tells Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it is not mandatory for investigating agencies to obtain sanctions to prosecute police officers, who create false cases and execute fake encounters. This is a significant stand taken by the central agency while challenging the discharge of two police officers in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his alleged confidante Tulsiram Prajapati.

Interestingly, this stand of the CBI can prove fatal for several IPS officials who have been discharged in the case thus far. This claim of the agency can spell trouble for these officials as the trial court had discharged them on the ground that there was no prior sanction to prosecute. Until now, out of the 15 discharged accused, including bigwigs like Amit Shah, DG Vanzara and others, the agency has only preferred to challenge the discharge orders of N Amin and Dalpat Singh Rathod, accused of conspiring and eliminating Tulsiram Prajapati.

A single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere sought to know from the CBI about its argument against the ground of lack of sanction, cited by the trial court while discharging accused Dalpat and Amin. “It is not the official duty of any police officer to create false stories/cases or execute fake encounters. When police officers are charged with such offences, there is no requirement of a prior sanction,” said Anil Singh, the Additional Solicitor General (ASG), who appeared for the agency.

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Meanwhile, the CBI also surprised Justice Dere by confessing that it has ‘no information’ as to how Prajapati was taken to the spot where he was shot. ASG Singh read out details of the version of accused Dalpat Singh, who had claimed that Prajapati had fled from the train on their return from Ahmedabad to Udaipur.

“All the four accused, including Dalpat, who were with the police escort party, had claimed that on their return, Prajapati fled from the train by throwing chilly powder on the faces of two officers. This is a false story created by them, since our investigations show that Prajapati was not at all present in the moving train and was rather shot dead after his production in the court,” Singh said.

Having heard his submission, Justice Dere asked Singh to specify who took Prajapati to the spot for his elimination and how. “We have no information on this aspect. I can say that the train story is false and after producing him in the court, the accused people had shot him,” ASG Singh, managed to say. Irked with the ASG, Justice Dere remarked, “I fail to understand why you are giving out some isolated information. You should instead help this court by giving out all the facts and circumstances relating to the case, only then would it be possible for me to decide the matter.”

The court is hearing two applications — one filed by the CBI challenging the discharge of Amin and Dalpat while the other has been moved by Rubabuddin Sheikh, brother of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was killed in a fake encounter in November 2006 along with his wife. Rubabuddin has challenged the discharge of senior officials like DG Vanzara and others in the case. The matter would now be heard on Monday.