New Delhi: In an embarrassment to the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter killing of Tulsiram Prajapati. Prajapati was stated to be an eyewitness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case allegedly involving former state minister Amit Shah.

A bench of Justices comprising P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan rejected the plea of the Gujarat government and said that no CBI probe can be ordered as the state police has already filed a chargesheet in the case.

The direction was given on an appeal filed by Narmada Bai, mother of Tulsiram Prajapati, alleging that he was killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi murders.

The Apex Court said the petitioner had made out a strong case for transfer of investigation to the CBI as there was strong suspicion about the involvement of police personnel from three states- Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The bench also clarified that observation made in this judgement shall not have any influence on the trial judge dealing with the case. It also criticised the tardy investigations conducted by the Gujarat police in the killings, in which, besides politicians, top police officials are also involved.

The bench regretted that the State police took more than three-and-a-half years to file the chargesheet after the killings.
   
The Gujarat government had during the arguments strongly opposed a CBI probe on the ground that Prajapati's killing was a separate encounter and in no way connected to the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

Sohrabuddin was gunned down in an encounter by the Gujarat police's Anti-Terrorist Squad. The policemen are also accused of killing Kauser Bi and Prajapati to destroy evidence.

The investigation in the case by CBI had stirred a political controversy after former state minister Shah was arrested and charged with killing Sohrabuddin and his wife.

(Agencies)