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Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter: All including 21 cops acquitted for want of evidence

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Mumbai, Dec 21: The Special CBI court has acquitted all 22 accused in the Soharbuddin Sheikh encounter case. The court observed that the order of acquittal was for want of evidence.

The court held that the allegation that Tulsiram Prajapati was murdered through a conspiracy is not true.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter: No conspiracy says court

The court also observed that all the witnesses and proofs are not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and murder.

Further, it said that the circumstantial evidence is not substantial.

The government machinery and prosecution put in a lot of effort and 210 witnesses were brought, but satisfactory evidence didn't come and witnesses turned hostile. It is not the fault of prosecutor if witnesses don't speak, the court also said.

Of the accused, 21 are junior-level police officials from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The other was the owner of a farmhouse in Gujarat where Shaikh and Kausar Bi were illegally detained before they were allegedly killed.

The court earlier discharged, for want of evidence, 16 of the 38 people charge-sheeted by the CBI.

These included then Minister of State for Home in Gujarat Amit Shah, the then Rajasthan home minister Gulabchand Kataria, former Gujarat police chief PC Pande and former senior Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara.

The CBI contended in court that the entire trial had been hampered by hostile witnesses. The agency also said that it had taken over the probe in 2010 from the Gujarat CID and most of the evidence that was placed on record was a result of the probe conducted by the CBI.

Deposition of witnesses took place after 12 years, many of the witnesses stated that they could not remember the details and our star witnesses turned hostile. Thus, the entire chain of evidence has gone wrong and as a result, we could not bring direct evidence, the CBI also submitted.

The CBI charge sheet said that BJP president Amit Shah and then home minister of Rajasthan, Gulab Chand Kataria were part of a nexus of politicians and criminals. There were 38 accused in all, but 16 including Shah were discharged in the case.

The judge would also take a call on the applications filed by two witnesses, who had sought re-examination.

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