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Court Reserves Order On Shah's Bail Plea Till October 8

 Ahmedabad, Sep 29: A special CBI court here today reserved its order on the bail plea of former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, till October 8 amid some
PTI September 29, 2010 21:21 IST

 Ahmedabad, Sep 29: A special CBI court here today reserved its order on the bail plea of former Gujarat minister Amit Shah, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, till October 8 amid some high pitched arguments between two senior counsels K T S Tulsi and Ram Jethmalani.  Special judge G K Upadhyay reserved the order on Shah's bail plea which was filed on July 26, the very next day of his arrest, after Tulsi representing CBI and Jethmalani appearing for Shah completed their arguments.  

Jethmalani produced some documents including statements of some of the witnesses who had recently retracted from their statements before CBI.  As soon as Jethmalani began reading the statement of a witness Azam Khan, Tulsi raised objection to it saying that the reading could lead to severe ramifications.  "Don't be disgusting," shouted Jethmalani.  "Do not shout. This is not a street. Let us behave in a civilised fashion," Tulsi answered back.  "I know where all this statements (of Azam Khan and others) were coming.

I have evidence that it is being engineered by you (Shah)," Tulsi said, adding this was an attempt to destroy the witnesses.  The court had to intervene and ask the two senior counsels to calm down and proceed with the hearing.  At the end of Jethmalani's argument, Tulsi sought time to file reply to the documents submitted in the court.  Tulsi claimed he had evidence that Azam's statement was engineered by Shah and sought permission to play the video recording of his statement before the magistrate in the court to prove his point.  Jethmalani said the retraction of statements by witnesses was proof of CBI's incompetence.  When Tulsi sought time till October 6 to file reply to documents submitted by Jethmalani, the later offered to withdraw all the documents he submitted in court today, saying he wanted order on bail as soon as possible.  In his concluding remarks, Tulsi submitted that Shah was conspiring to tamper with evidence and intimidating witnesses even from within Sabarmati Jail where he is currently lodged.  He said if the killing of Sohrabuddin was a heroic act, Shah should have moral courage to own it up.  Requesting the court to reject Shah's bail plea, Tulsi said the combination of police and politician forms a deadly cocktail.  He said past experiences and behaviour of Shah show that he has intimidated witnesses and tried to hamper probe.  On the alleged internal communication of the CBI produced before the court by Shah's lawyers, Tulsi said it was a desperate attempt to divert heat from the gruesome crime, and all was being done at the behest of the applicant (Shah).

On the other hand, Jethmalani submitted that the prosecution's case against his client was false and every document has been fabricated.  He alleged that statement of former CID chief G C Raigar, on which CBI was relying upon to oppose the bail plea, was obtained after intimidating the police officer.  In the document alleged to be internal communication of CBI that was produced in court by Jethmalani, permission was sought for arrest of Raigar, Geetha Johri and P C Pandey, if they did not cooperate.  It seems that Raigar has cooperated, which is evident from the fact that he has not been arrested, Jethmalani said.  "This proves that CBI had intimidated Raigar, and who knows other witnesses, by asking him to cooperate or go to jail," he said.  During the hearing on bail plea, Tulsi had opposed the plea contending that Shah was a powerful politician and 'kingpin' of the conspiracy which led to the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and killing of two witnesses in the case which include Sohrabuddin's wife Kausar Bi and his close aide Tulsiram Prajapati.  While Jethmalani had submitted that all charges against his client were fabricated and his arrest was an attempt by CBI which was working on the behest of the Congress, to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and topple his government. PTI