ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Brushing Aside the Conspiracy Angle (UPDATED)

The order by the Central Bureau of Investigation providing a clean chit to former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah has wiped out the entire slate of the Supreme Court's intervention in various encounter death cases. The discharge of the "lynchpin" of the conspiracy despite voluminous material providing strong grounds for proceeding with the trial will ultimately raise questions about judicial independence.

It is a matter of record that the State of Gujarat – after stout denial – admitted that Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife had been killed in illegal police custody. It is also a matter of record that the State of Gujarat ultimately – again after much dodging and subterfuge – accepted that the Tulsi Prajapati encounter was stage-managed.

In both cases, charge sheets were filed, committed to sessions with great alacrity, and trial dates fixed. However, the Supreme Court noted that this urgency arose from the desire of the Gujarat police to keep the two cases separate. Their “trenchant refusal” to draw the dots between the two sets of killings was part of the reason why the Supreme Court transferred the investigations to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with the express direction to unearth the wider conspiracy, if any. The CBI, in the course of its investigations, is said to have found Amit Shah (currently the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party) to be the “lynchpin” of the main conspiracy. Shah was arraigned as accused number 16.

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