MUMBAI: As soon as the
pronounced its judgment in the
at 12.10 pm on Friday, all 22 accused present in the crowded court room heaved a collective sigh and scrambled to get a mobile signal to call family members while congratulating each other. They were all out on bail
Earlier during the trial, 16 accused, including
, and IPS officers
, had been discharged (no charges framed) in the case
Referring to Sohrabuddin, the court said it was certain his death was homicidal as he was injured. “However, when I went through the evidence, whether these accused were the writers of this crime, whether they were answerable,” I have not found any substantial evidence, “said judge Sharma.
Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, who has been fighting for justice (see box) since the encounters over a dozen years ago, present in court and said he will be the verdict against the appeal. He added that there was no mention of his sister-in-law Kausarbi in the judge’s oral observations.
Tulsiram’s mother Naramadabai was stoic, and said her life had already been destroyed. “Faisla has gone I do not think any of these words are there (The verdict has come and I hope now no one else will trouble me). ”
CBI special public prosecutor BP Raju said the judgment copy was awaited and a future course of action will be decided by senior officials after perusing it. He denied comment on the verdict
“I have not been able to do the same thing, (the evidence submitted in court is not substantial),” said judge Sharma, adding, “I am helpless. The court always runs on evidence. “After going through the evidence and testimonies on record, he had come to the conclusion that neither the conspiracy nor the link between the 22 persons and the three deaths were established.
The court added that the prosecution can not be faulted if witnesses turn hostile. “I do not know much about it, I have not been able to say anything, I am not able to say anything,” the judge said.
It was the prosecution case that on November 23, 2005, Sohrabuddin, Kausarbi and Prajapati abducted by cops from a bus near Hyderabad. The couple was taken to Ahmedabad, where Sohrab was killed in a fake encounter. A few days later, Kausarbi was killed and her body burnt and disposed of in a river bed near Illol village in Gujarat. Prajapati, an alleged eyewitness, was shown as arrested and later taken to Udaipur On December 28, 2006, he was allegedly killed in a staged encounter.
Crucially, the court said it could not prove that Sohrab and his wife when they were abducted. It added that the defense claims that the prosecution escaped from police custody on a train while he was being taken for a court hearing and was killed in an encounter substantiated.
The CBI had alleged that the discharged IPS officer DG Vanzara had said to Gujarat cop Ashish Pandya to be part of Prajapati’s alleged encounter and had canceled his leave. “The CBI failed to produce any substantial evidence, phone records, etc to prove that Vanzara called Pandya for this specific purpose,” the court added.