New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday moved the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh shootout case to Mumbai and also withdrew order restraining former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah, an accused in the case, from entering the state.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai transferred the trial in the case to Mumbai.
Sohrabuddin was killed by Gujarat Police Nov 25, 2005, in a staged shootout. Two days later, his wife Kausar Bi was killed. His aide Tulsiram Prajapati was murdered Dec 28, 2006.
Shah was in the minister of state for home affairs in Gujarat at the time.
Pronouncing the brief order, Justice Alam said the CBI plea against bail to Shah by the Gujarat High Court was dismissed. However, the plea for the transfer of the trial outside the state was allowed.
The apex court had by declining the CBI plea to suspend the high court grant of bail to Shah in December 2010, directed him to keep off the territorial limits of Gujarat till it decides the plea against the bail.
The court earlier in the course of the hearing offered senior counsel Ram Jethmalani the choice between his client Amit Shah coming back to Gujarat and the trial being transferred outside the state or Shah staying away and the trial continuing in the state.
In the course of the next hearing, the CBI alleged that Shah was the head of the extortion syndicate in Gujarat. The investigating agency said the killings of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and that of Prajapati were a part of the same conspiracy.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday expressed happiness that the Supreme Court has allowed Shah to return to Gujarat.
"We are happy that he is allowed to enter Gujarat and will campaign for the state assembly elections. We believe and have firm faith in our leader that he is not guilty," said BJP leader Prakash Javedekar.
Activist and campaigner for the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots, Teesta Setalvad also expressed agreement over the verdict. "The important news point for today is that the third trial after Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano in the last ten years has been transferred out of Gujarat into Maharshtra," said Setalvad.