Ahmedabad:  A Gujarat High Court judge on Wednesday recused himself form hearing the bail plea of suspended IPS officer Abhay Chudasama who is currently behind bars on the charge of being the key conspirator in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice M D Shah, he recused himself from the case, saying "not before me". He did not give any reason for it. Now, the matter will be sent to the Chief Justice who will assign the case to another judge.

Justice Shah was the second high court judge who excused himself from the hearing on Chudasama's bail application. Justice Z K Saiyed too had recused himself from hearing the bail petition of the suspended officer in October last.

After Justice Saiyed declined, the case was heard for some time by Justice K M Thaker. But after the change in roster, the bail matters were assigned to Justice Shah. During the hearing, the investigating agency CBI opposed Chudasama's bail contending that if let out he could "intimidate" witnesses and tamper with evidence.

CBI had claimed that Chudasama played a key role in the conspiracy that led to fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and subsequent murder of his wife Kausar Bi. The central agency had alleged that Chudasama was involved in the extortion racket run by Sohrabuddin.

The central agency also cited the 2006 Tulsiram Prajapati encounter case that it was investigating and claimed that the probe in this case was at "very critical" stage and Chudasama, if set free, could influence witnesses.

Meanwhile, Chudasama in his bail petition before the high court claimed that he was being used as "tool" to get to former Gujarat minister of state for Home, Amit Shah, who is also an accused in the case and now out on bail. Claiming that CBI just made him a "ladder" to reach the former minister, Chudasama denied all charges against him including that of criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

Chudasama had approached the high court after Special CBI Judge R M Parmar, on April 19, 2011, rejected his bail plea and observed that the officer was accused in a heinouscrime and was claimed to be the key conspirator in the case by the prosecuting agency CBI, hence he cannot be granted bail. The court further said that if granted bail, there was the possibility that the accused could tamper with the evidence and influence witnesses.