Ahmedabad, Jan 10 (Agencies): The Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the bail application of suspended IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan, accused in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Justice M R Shah, while rejecting Pandiyan's bail plea, upheld the contention of the investigating agency CBI that releasing him would hamper investigation in the case.

The court also dismissed the contention of the defence that since Pandiyan was in jail since April 2007, keeping him for such a long time in prison amounted to violation of article 21 of the constitution.

The CBI during hearing of the case, had submitted before the court that Pandiyan was threatening witnesses from inside the jail.

Senior counsel K T S Tulsi, appearing on behalf of CBI, had given two sealed covers containing statements of witnesses recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), to justify his submission.

Tulsi told the court that investigation was at a stage where safety of witnesses was important. Otherwise it would be difficult to reach the stage of trial in the case.

Pandiyan had approached the High Court seeking bail on the grounds of parity as former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, a prime accused in the fake encounter case, was given bail.