New Delhi :
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai acquitted all the all 22 accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati for lack of evidence. Pronouncing the final verdict in the case, the CBI court said that all the witnesses and proofs were not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and the circumstantial evidence were not substantial. While reading out the judgment, special CBI judge 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 the prosecutor if witnesses don't speak."
Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005 in an encounter in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state. Gujarat police claimed that he was associated with terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba and planning to assassinate Modi. According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin was arrested by Gujarat police from a bus when he was on his way to Sangli in Maharashtra along with his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
Three days later, the CBI said, he was killed in an alleged fake encounter at the outskirts of Ahmedabad. His wife Kausar Bi was taken to Banaskantha district where she was killed after being raped and her body was disposed of.
A year later, on December 26, 2006, Tulsiram Prajapati was also killed by Gujarat and Rajasthan police near Gujarat border, the CBI said. The police had claimed that Prajapati was trying to escape the police custody when he was being taken to Gujarat from Rajasthan after a court hearing.
The encounter of the Sohrabuddin Shaikh, an alleged gangster, and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati had attracted much attention as BJP president Amit Shah, who was the who was the Home Minister in Gujarat at the time of the incidents, was one of the accused in the case. Shah, however, was discharged in 2014, months after the Narendra Modi-led government came in power at Centre.