BJP says CBI targetting Kataria ahead of Rajasthan polls

The BJP has slammed the CBI decision to file a charge sheet senior BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria and three others for murder charges in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case, saying that it was a ploy by the Congress to target the party ahead of elections in Rajasthan.

Kataria is the second high profile politician to be named in the alleged fake encounter case after former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Image from IBN-Live

Image from IBN-Live

However he has claimed that the charges against are him part of political conspiracy, asking why charges were filed against him after six years.

"Let them bring any evidence against me. This is a conspiracy - why so many charge sheets?" he asked.

The BJP is scheduled to hold a detailed press conference on the matter later this afternoon as well. The party has already said that this is yet another instance of how the CBI is being misused by the UPA government.

The magisterial court issued summons to Kataria and three others to appear before it after the agency filed the supplementary chargesheet, which runs into 500 pages. They are likely to appear before the court on 4 June.

In its 500-page supplementary charge sheet, CBI has alleged Sheikh was “eliminated” for demanding Rs 24 crore from Patni who was introduced to Amit Shah, also an accused in the case, by Kataria, the then Rajasthan Home Minister.

CBI alleged Kataria was the “link” between Patni and Shah and got Patni introduced to the latter.

The agency had earlier said Sheikh allegedly wanted to spread his extortion racket in Rajasthan and in order to get a good hold he had sought the protection money. The agency added that after coming in contact with Patni, Shah allegedly planned the entire encounter operation with the help of Gujarat police, according to CBI.

The CBI has added the statements of 40 new witnesses in the supplementary chargesheet. Some of the witnesses had recorded their statements before magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in 2 November, 2005.

With inputs from PTI