HC issues notice to CBI on Rathi's bail plea

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today issued a notice to the CBI to explain by November 13 its opposition to the grant of bail to former ACP S S Rathi in the Connaught Place shootout case.

Admitting the bail petition of Rathi, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two innocent businessmen in a fake encounter at Connaught Place in 1997, the court asked the CBI to explain why bail should not be given.

A division bench, led by Justice RS Sodhi and BN Chaturvedi, told the investigating agency to give its reply by November 13.

Rathi's counsel K T S Tulsi submitted that the trial judge had ''disregarded'' the statements of most prosecution witnesses.

Instead, the trial court relied upon the testimony of Tarunpreet Singh, the only eye-witness.

Pressing for quashing the trial court's judgement, Rathi's counsel submitted before the court that his client was near Mother Dairy at the time when the incident occurred, far from the crime site.

Rathi joined the police team, assigned for the encounter, much later, he added.

Seeking reversal of the trial judge's conclusion that the policemen had fired at the victims with ''an intention to kill,'' Mr Tulsi added that Rathi had not fired any shot at the deceased sitting in a Maruti Esteem car.

Strongly denying all allegations, the defence counsel submitted that Rathi had instructed his team to arrest the Uttar Pradesh-based gangster Yaseen and his associate with minimum force. ''The question of Rathi's instruction to the team to fire at the gangsters does not arise at all,'' he added.

Ten policemen including Rathi were handed down life terms on October 24 for the murder of two businessmen -Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh- at Barakhamba Road here on March 31, 1997.

UNI

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