New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) In major breather for BJP general secretary and Gujarat’s former minister Amit Shah, the Supreme Court Monday quashed the first information report filed against him by the CBI in the Tulsiram Prajapati staged shootout case.
The court said the charge sheet filed in pursuance to this FIR would be treated as a supplementary charge sheet in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case, which is being tried in Mumbai.
Quashing the FIR, a bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan, in their ruling, said it was the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) own case that the Prajapati’s killing was a part of the same transaction involving a series of killings after the abduction of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi.
“The second FIR dated April 29, 2011, filed by the CBI is contrary to the directions issued in judgment and order dated April 4, 2011, by this court and accordingly the same is quashed. As a consequence, the charge sheet filed on Sep 4, 2012, in pursuance of the second FIR, be treated as a supplementary charge sheet in the first FIR,” the bench said.
The court said it had to balance the fundamental rights of the citizens and the sweeping powers of police to investigate.
“A just balance between the fundamental rights of the citizens under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution and the expansive power of the police to investigate a cognizable offence has to be struck by the court,” it said.
“However”, the ruling said, “the sweeping power of investigation does not warrant subjecting a citizen each time to fresh investigation by the police in respect of the same incident, giving rise to one or more cognizable offences, consequent upon filing of successive FIRs whether before or after filing the final report under Section 173(2) CrPC.”
“It would clearly be beyond the purview of Sections 154 and 156 CrPC, nay, a case of abuse of the statutory power of investigation in a given case,” it said
“In the light of the specific stand taken by the CBI before this Court in the earlier proceedings by way of assertion in the form of counter affidavit, status reports, etc. we are of the view that filing of the second FIR and fresh charge sheet is violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution since the same relate to alleged offence in respect of which an FIR had already been filed and the court has taken cognizance,” Justice Sathasivam said, pronouncing the judgment.
“This court categorically accepted the CBI’s plea that killing of Tulsiram Prajapati is a part of the same series of cognizable offence forming part of the first FIR (relating to Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Kausarbi killing)…,” the judgement read.
“In spite of the fact that this Court directed the CBI to ‘take over’ the investigation and did not grant the relief as prayed, namely, registration of fresh FIR, the present action of CBI filing fresh FIR is contrary to various judicial pronouncements, which is demonstrated in the earlier part of our judgment.”
The case relates to the alleged killing in November 2005 by Gujarat Police of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who according to police was involved in arms smuggling and plotting terrorist attacks. Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were abducted from a bus while on their way from Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh to Sangli in Maharashtra, and allegedly killed.
A year later, on Dec 26, 2006, Prajapati, who was a witness to the killing of Sheikh and his wife, was killed by police in an allegedly staged shoot-out.