Mumbai: The CBI special court on Friday granted interim relief from arrest to three people accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case. The court granted relief to Vimal Patni, Director of RK Marble, senior IPS officer Narasimha Balasubramaniam and police inspector G Shrinivasan. The accused have been granted the relief till June 14 after they moved anticipatory bail applications claiming there was no evidence against them.
The special court has now directed CBI to file its reply by June 14. On March 14, CBI had filed a supplementary chargesheet against former Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria as well as the trio and the local metropolitan magistrate's court had directed them to appear on June 4. According to the charge sheet, Sheikh had demanded Rs 24 crore from Patni as protection money and this was the prime reason why he was eliminated. CBI said Kataria was the person who had introduced Patni to former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah.
After coming in contact with Patni, Shah had planned the entire encounter operation with the help of Gujarat police, CBI said. On September 27 last year, the Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of the Sheikh fake encounter case to Maharashtra after CBI alleged witnesses were being intimidated and the trial could not be held in a free and fair manner in Gujarat.
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 November 2005, while Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by the police at Chapri village in Banaskantha district in December 2006. CBI had alleged Shah was the "kingpin" of the encounter conspiracy in which most of the accused are policemen, including some IPS officers. He was arrested in July 2010 but released on bail after spending three months in jail.