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One more cop cleared in fake encounter case in Gujarat

Mahesh Trivedi
Filed on March 3, 2015

A special CBI court in Mumbai discharged senior Gujarat IPS officer Geeta Johri in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases.

Ahmedabad - In yet another blow to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), one more police officer from Gujarat has been given a clean chit in fake encounter cases, raising many eyebrows.

 A special CBI court in Mumbai on Monday discharged senior Gujarat IPS officer Geeta Johri in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases, for want of mandatory sanction from the Maharashtra government for her prosecution. This means Johri, who was the inspector-general of police at the time of the incidents, will not stand trial. Her lawyer had moved the discharge application since the sanction from the government was not obtained, his client could not be prosecuted.     

In 2005, Sohrabuddin, a petty criminal, his wife Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati were traveling on a bus from Andhra Pradesh when they were kidnapped by the Gujarat police. Sohrabuddin and his wife were killed a few days later.

Tulsiram, a key witness to their kidnapping, was shot dead a year later.

Following a petition filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin in the Supreme Court (SC), she headed investigations into the fake encounter in 2006.

Her inquiry confirmed that the encounter was a fake one, and beased on the evidences gathered by her, 13 police officers including three IPS officers-— controversial DIG D G Vanzara, S P Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N — were arrested.

However, the charge-sheet that she filed before the sessions court in the case was severely criticised following which the apex court ordered these be handed over to CBI after the SC found faults in the way Johri handled the case.

The CBI’s main allegation against Johri was that she was willing to bend rules under pressure, and that she intentionally stayed away from linking the fake encounters to a political conspiracy in addition to destroying crucial evidence.

Only last month, the court had dropped charges against former Gujarat director-general of police P.C. Pande, from the two sensational cases for the same technical reason with activists describing the decision as ‘attack on democracy’.

On December 30, the CBI court had discharged BJP president Amit shah, who was minister of state for home at the time of the bogus shoot-outs, from the case saying “the CBI’s inference is not acceptable when the case is seen in totality.

The Sohrabuddin case was transferred to Mumbai in September 2012 at CBI’s request for fair tria. In 2013, the Supreme Court had clubbed Tulsiram Prajapati’s encounter killing case with that of Sohrabuddin.


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