Ahmedabad: In a relief to former state minister Amit Shah, the Gujarat High Court on Friday granted him bail more than three months after he was arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Justice R. H. Shukla granted bail to 46-year-old Shah on a personal bond of Rs1 lakh and a condition that he will have to appear before the CBI’s Mumbai office every month as the case is registered there.
Shah, a close aide of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, was arrested by the CBI on 25 July and he has spend over three months in the Sabarmati jail here.
The court also rejected the demand of the CBI to grant three weeks stay on the bail order as the agency would like to appeal against the verdict. The plea was made by CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani.
Shah’s lawyer Nirupam Nanavati assured the court that his client would comply with all the terms and conditions of the bail and also any additional terms which the CBI would like to impose.
He is likely to be released from the Sabarmati jail after the due process is over, Nanavati said.
Shah has been described by the CBI as the “kingpin” of the conspiracy leading to the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in November 2005 and killing of two key witnesses, Soharabuddin’s wife Kausarbi and his close aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
Welcoming the order, Gujarat BJP spokesman Vijay Rupani said the party will fight in both “the people’s court and the law courts” in Shah’s case.
Accusing the CBI and the Congress of levelling “false” allegations in the case, he said, “We have got jusitce in both in the law court and the people’s court in the battle that we are fighting.
“In the people’s court, election were held and the BJP got full support. Even in the elections, injustice by the Congress and the CBI was an issue. People voted against the Congress,” he said.
Reacting to the verdict, union textiles minister Shankarsinh Vaghela said it was a judicial matter and hoped that the CBI would go in appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Let Mr Amit Shah enjoy Diwali with his family. The charges are so solid there is no way out,” Vaghela said.
On 8 October, a CBI court had rejected the bail application of Shah.
The CBI court while rejecting the bail plea of Shah had said there was every likelihood that if Shah is released on bail he may misuse his political power to hamper investigation.
The three-month legal battle between the CBI and Shah witnessed a clash of senior lawyers like Ram Jethmalani who represented the latter and K. T. S. Tulsi who appeared for the investigating agency.
Jethmalani during his arguments had said the CBI court’s order of not granting bail to Shah lacked judicial balance.
Jethmalani had argued that Sohrabuddin was an extortionist and a racketeer and entire exercise to arrest Shah was politically motivated to tarnish his reputation as the investigating agency has no material evidence against him.
Tulsi had submitted that Shah did not deserve bail as he was threatening witnesses even from inside the prison.