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Court grants bail to Gujarat ex-minister Amit Shah

Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:43:34 PM, IANS

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Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court Friday granted bail to former minister of state for home Amit Shah, who was arrested July 25 in the Sohrabbudin Sheikh staged shootout case of 2005.

Justice R.H. Shukla allowed the release of Shah, a legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Sarkhej in Ahmedabad, on a bond of Rs.1 lakh.

Shah, who was lodged in the Sabarmati jail, has been asked to report once a week at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office for the first three weeks and thereafter once a month.

The judge reserved his order for Friday after hearing counsel from both sides Wednesday.

Appearing for Shah, senior lawyer and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani termed the CBI court's decision denying Shah bail as one which showed complete lack of judicial balance.

He argued that Sohrabuddin was an extortionist and a racketeer and the entire CBI exercise was politically motivated to tarnish the reputation of Shah.

"The Gujarat Police were honest in admitting that Sohrabuddin's killing was a fake encounter. There is no circumstantial evidence nor eye-witness to prove the conspiracy theory," he added.

Appearing for the CBI, lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi said though the case was initially investigated by Gujarat Police, the Supreme Court thought it fit to hand it over to the CBI pointing out that the motive behind the killing has not been investigated.

The Supreme Court had reasons to believe the deaths of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kauserbi and Tulsiram Prajapati were to destroy human witnesses, he contended.

Tulsi also argued that the Supreme Court had also found discrepancies in the Action Taken Reports filed by the Gujarat Police which failed to carry out impartial investigations.

The high court Oct 12 issued notices to the state government and the CBI on Shah's petition seeking bail and quashing of the CBI court order that had rejected his plea.

Special CBI judge G.K. Upadhyay Oct 8 refused to grant Shah bail on grounds that he may tamper with evidence and pressure witnesses by using his political clout.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh was gunned down Nov 26, 2005 and his wife died in mysterious circumstances a few days later.




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