Court seeks Gujarat, Shah’s response on CBI’s custody plea

August 5th, 2010 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi Gandhinagar, Aug 5 (IANS) The Gujarat High Court Thursday issued notices to the state government and former minister of state for home Amit Shah on a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging a designated court’s order turning down his remand plea in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.
The CBI plea will be taken up for further hearing Friday.

Meanwhile, the agency grilled former additional director general of police O.P. Mathur at their headquarters here for nine hours. He is likely to be summoned again for questioning.

Earlier, CBI counsel K.T.S. Tulsi submitted before a single judge bench of Justice Akil Kureshi that the order of the designated judge was erroneous and lacked understanding of law. He submitted that the CBI had filed a case diary of Shah’s interrogation in prison, in a sealed cover, which the judge did not even open and consider before passing an order.

A special court Wednesday had rejected the CBI’s demand of 10 days’ remand for Shah, upholding his advocate, Ram Jethmalani’s argument that after filing of the chargesheet in the case, the CBI can only interrogate Shah, if needed, in judicial custody but cannot seek his custody for interrogation.

Tulsi had said that two witnesses to Sheikh’s fake gunfight killing have already been killed and Shah’s involvement in it has come to the fore. He had argued that the CBI had presumed that as a former home minister, Shah would cooperate in the investigations by answering the questions put to him but that had not happened.

“He is the prime accused in the extortion racket which prima facie has the involvement of state government personnel, police officers and other criminals,” he submitted.

He also noted that four witnesses have testified before the CBI that people were being threatened with detention under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act.

The CBI also questioned Mathur, who headed the state CID when it was investigating the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.

The Gujarat Police and the officer handling the case, Geetha Johri, had come in for severe criticism for the investigation and the probe handed over to the CBI.

Mathur had been summoned along with his predecessor G.C. Raigar but while the latter turned up, Mathur did not saying a close relative was ill.

In a midnight transfer, Raigar was stripped of his charge by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who holds the home ministry portfolio, allegedly at the behest of Shah after he refused to oblige them in the case. Mathur had replaced him.

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