Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court will tomorrow hear the pleas of five accused, including two serving police officers, challenging the jurisdiction of a local court in Banaskantha district accepting the chargesheet filed by the CBI in the 2006 Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case. Justice R H Shukla today adjourned the hearing on the request of CBI seeking time to file its reply.
The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Geeta Ahir of Danta court on September 18 had held that her court has the competence to take cognisance of the chargesheet filed by the investigating agency on 4 September.
CBI has named 20 people, including former minister of state for Home and Modi's aide Amit Shah, in its chargesheet. The accused police officials had objected to the filing of the chargesheet in the Danta court instead of the special CBI court in Ahmedabad where the agency had filed the FIR in this case on April 29, 2011.
On September 21, Geetha Johri (Additional DGP), Rajkumara Pandian (suspended IPS officer), P C Pande (ex-DGP) and R K Patel (Dy SP and former Investigating Officer of Prajapati case) had filed separate petitions challenging Danta court's decision saying the chargesheet can only be filed in the CBI court in Ahmedabad.
Today another accused and former police officer O P Mathur, then ADGP of CID (Crime) also filed the similar petition against the lower court's order. All the five accused have sought directions from the high court for restricting the local court from taking cognizance of the chargesheet until their their pleas are decided.
CBI counsel Yogesh Rawani today requested the HC to grant time to get instructions from the concerned officer of the Agency in this regard.
Meanwhile, Prajapati's mother Narmada Bai today requested the court to allow her to intervene in the case as she is the principal complainant on whose complaint the Supreme Court directed the CBI to probe the death of her son.
"We are opposing the demands of the accused on the grounds that unless and until a court takes cognisance and issues process of further proceedings on the chargesheet the accused have no role and they don't even come into the
picture. So they have no locus standi at this stage," advocate Mukul Sinha representing Narmada Bai said.
Prajapati, a witness to the abduction and subsequent killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kauser bi, was killed in a staged encounter allegedly by Gujarat Police at Chhapri near the temple town of Ambaji in Banaskantha on December 28, 2006.
CBI in its chargesheet has shown Shah as the "kingpin" in the murder of Prajapti, besides charging 17 others, including Johri, Pandian, Vanzara for murder, conspiracy, destruction of the evidence among other sections of Indian Penal Code.
O P Mathur and R K Patel have been charged for the criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and dereliction of duty.