Gujarat’s top cop wants apex court remark against her deleted

January 28th, 2010 - 11:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi By Rana Ajit
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Gujarat Police’s Inspector General Geetha Johri has moved the Supreme Court for deletion of some of the court’s critical remarks against her during her probe into Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case.

Ujjain man Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in a staged gunbatle by a Gujarat police team near Ahmedabad in November 2005. The state police then claimed Soharabuddin was a terrorist and planned to kill Chief Minister Narandra Modi. His wife Kausar Bi and family friend Tulsiram Prajapati, witnesses to the killing, were subsequently eliminated.

Geetha Johri’s lawsuit, seeking deletion of the remarks made against her in the Jan 12 judgment by an apex court bench of erstwhile Justice Tarun Chatterjee, who retired the same day, and Justice Aftab Alam, was filed by advocate Heamantika Wahi.

The lawsuit sought the deletion of remarks made against Johri, particularly in para 59 of the judgment, which ordered an independent Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the killings.

Johri, contacted on telephone by IANS, confirmed the petition has been filed for deletion of the remark.

The Gujarat government had asked Johri to probe the alleged staged killings of Sheikh, kauser Bi and Prajapati, based on a letter Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh wrote to the apex court registry. The apex court subsequently sent that letter to the Gujarat government for follow-up action.

Though the state government replaced Johri with Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Rajnish Rai, the apex court subsequently restored her as the head of the probe team.

Rubabuddin consistently appealed for a CBI probe, but the apex court let the Gujarat police team led by Johri continue the investigation and even let it file the charge sheet in the case.

But eventually, noticing several lapses in the probe, the apex court handed over the case to the CBI.

It indicted Johri for virtually ignoring the probe into the killing of Prajapati.

“No justification can be found for the investigating officer Johri walking out the investigation with respect to Tulsiram Prajapati’s death without even informing this court,” the apex court remarked.

It also censured Johri for “not carrying out the probe in right manner and obfuscating the probe”.

“We have observed that from the record, it was found that V.L.Solanki, an investigating officer, was proceeding in the right direction, but Johri had not been carrying out the investigation in the right manner,” said the court.

It also added: “We are of the view that her mentioning the criminal background of Sohrabbuddin (in the probe report) and the discussion among the accused officers concerning Sohrabbuddin was meant to obfuscate the enquiry.”

Soon after the November 2005 killing, DIG D.G Vanzara of Gujarat Police had announced Sheikh was a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist on a mission to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

During the probe into the staged killings of Sohrabuddin, his wife and friend, the state police booked several of its officers, including Vanzara and an Indian Service Police (IPS) officer from the Rajasthan Police, and arrested them for their role into the killings.

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