A special CBI court in Mumbai acquitted all the accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case on Friday due to lack of evidence, ANI reported.
Twenty-persons, mostly junior-level police officials from Gujarat and Rajasthan, were on trial in the alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati in 2005.
In his order, special CBI judge SJ Sharma observed that all the witnesses and proofs were not satisfactory to prove conspiracy and murder. The court also observed that circumstantial evidence was not substantial, ANI reported.
According to ANI, the court said the allegation that Tulsiram Prajapati was murdered through a conspiracy was not true.
During the trial, as many as 92 prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
According to the CBI, Shaikh, an alleged gangster with terror links, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Prajapati were abducted by Gujarat police from a bus when they were on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad on the night of 22 and 23 November 2005.
Shaikh was killed in an alleged fake encounter on 26 November 2005 near Ahmedabad. His wife was killed three days later and her body was disposed of, the CBI said.
A year later, on 27 December 2006, Prajapati was also shot dead by Gujarat and Rajasthan police in an alleged fake encounter near Chapri on Gujarat-Rajasthan border.
The case was initially probed by the Gujarat CID before the CBI took over in 2010. The Supreme Court in 2013 directed that the trial be shifted to Mumbai from Gujarat on the central agency’s request to ensure a fair trial.
The court earlier discharged, for want of evidence, 16 of the 38 persons charge-sheeted by the CBI. These included Amit Shah, the then Rajasthan home minister Gulabchand Kataria, former Gujarat police chief PC Pande and former senior Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara.
(With PTI inputs)