The Bombay High Court has again questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation’s sincerity in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Tulsiram Prajapati and Kausar Bi.
Justice Revati Mohite Dere is hearing the CBI’s challenge to the discharge of certain police officers in the said case. Apart from the CBI, deceased Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin has also challenged the discharge of senior police officers who were accused in the case. The court is hearing the pleas challenging the discharge together on a day-to-day basis.
PTI reported Justice Dere as saying: “Is it not the CBI’s responsibility to ensure that its witnesses are protected so that they can depose against the accused fearlessly? Considering that several witnesses have turned hostile before the special CBI court, are you providing any protection to them? Your responsibility does not end simply at filing the charge sheet. It is your duty to protect your witnesses.”
These questions were posed at ASG Anil Singh, who is appearing for the CBI in the matter. What made these observations even more significant was the fact that two more witnesses had turned hostile and refused to support the CBI’s case in the Special CBI Court which is the conducting the trial.
When ASG Singh sought time for filing a reply to the Court’s queries, Justice Dere said:
“You cannot be a silent spectator. I am not getting the kind of assistance that I should have been getting from the CBI. If this is your attitude, then why are you even conducting the trial?”
This is not the first instance that the high court has questioned the CBI’s sincerity in the said case. Earlier, Justice Dere had asked the investigating agency as to why there was no sense of urgency in seeking an expeditious hearing of the revision applications, considering the trial had already begun.
A total of 38 accused were named in the CBI’s charge sheet, including BJP national president Amit Shah. Out of these, 15 have already been discharged from the case by the trial court. Out of the 40 witnesses examined, 34 have already turned hostile.