A special CBI court in Mumbai on Friday acquitted all 22 accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case due to lack of evidence. This despite two witnesses making stunning revelations during the hearing.
Special CBI judge SJ Sharma observed in his order that all the witnesses and proofs were not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and murder. The CBI court, according to ANI, also observed that circumstantial evidence was not substantial.
The court said, “Government machinery and prosecution put in a lot of effort, 210 witnesses were brought but satisfactory evidence didn’t come and witnesses turned hostile. No fault of prosecutor if witnesses don’t speak.”
In his testimony on 3 November, a key witness in the case, Azam Khan had told the trial court that he met Shaikh in 2002 and became good friends with him and his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati. Shaikh reportedly told him that the order to kill Pandya had come from ‘above.’
“During that time, Sohrabuddin told me he had got money from D G Vanzara to kill Gujarat’s home minister Haren Pandya and he completed the job. I then told him that what he did was wrong and he had killed a good person,” Azam had tol the court, according to news agency PTI.
Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra. Sheikh was killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005, after which his wife disappeared and was believed to have been done to death.
Prajapati, an eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006.
The Sohrabuddin killing case was transferred to Mumbai in September 2012 on the request of CBI for a fair trial. In 2013, the Supreme Court had clubbed the alleged fake encounter case of Prajapati with that of Sheikh.