Jethmalani to plead Shah’s case, former cop turns approver (Second Lead)

July 26th, 2010 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, July 26 (IANS) Former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, under arrest after being charged for alleged involvement in the 2005 killing of Sohrabudding Sheikh, Monday marshalled top lawyer Ram Jethmalani to plead his bail case even as a former police official, who is also an accused, turned approver in the case.
Shah, former junior minister for home, will have to spend another week in prison as his application for bail was posted for hearing Aug 2. The Central Bureau of Investigation was also permitted to interrogate him in judicial custody for three days.

Two of Shah’s associates who have been evading arrest were Monday declared absconders and a non-bailable warrant issued against them.

Meanwhile, former deputy superintendent of police N.K. Amin Monday moved the court seeking pardon and permission to turn approver.

Jethmalani appeared before special CBI judge G.K. Upadhayaya to plead for Shah’s bail but not before the federal investigating agency moved the second CBI court of judge A.I. Raval seeking permission to question the former minister in the Sabarmati jail where he is lodged.

Nirupam Nanavaty, also representing Shah, said that Jethmalani had told the court that he had no objection to the CBI questioning Shah in judicial custody but this should be done only after a copy of the chargesheet is made available to the defence.

He also wanted the questioning to be video-recorded. Jethmalani also argued that the CBI had failed to question Shah over the last six months i.e since January and even filed the chargesheet without hearing his version. “You have prejudiced our defence,” the lawyer stated in court referring to the CBI.

The CBI told the court that it had no objection to making available a copy of the chargesheet. The court after preliminary hearing admitted the bail plea and posted it to be taken up Aug 2.

Meanwhile, the order on the CBI plea for permission to interrogate Shah in Sabarmati jail came late in the evening when judge A.I. Raval gave permission. The order said that the CBI could interrogate Shah July 28-30 and the questioning should be video-recorded.

Former DySP, N.K. Amin’s lawyer moved the CBI court seeking pardon and permission for him to became an approver. He also sought transfer of Amin from the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad, where he is currently lodged with the other 15 accused, to another prison as he feared danger to his life.

Earlier, the lawyer had approached the CBI office in Gandhinagar to discuss the police officer’s plea. Amin is one of the accused in the case. The plea is slated to come up in court Tuesday and much will depend upon the stance of the CBI.

In a day of fast-paced developments in court, the CBI also moved to seek arrest warrants for absconding cooperative bank head Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasama, a close relative of former deputy police commissioner Abhay Chudasama. The court directed issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants against the two.

In Gandhinagar, former additional director general of police G.C. Raigar, who earlier headed the state CID (crime) department of the Gujarat police, was summoned and underwent five hours of questioning by the CBI. He later said he had been called as a witness.

Another former additional director general of police O.P. Mathur, who succeeded Raigar, was also summoned but failed to turn up. Mathur, considered close to Shah, is presently heading the newly set up Raksha university.

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