Mumbai: BJP president Amit Shah Tuesday got a major relief when a special CBI Court discharged him in the alleged staged shootout case related to Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi Sheikh and witness Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat.
Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge M.B. Gosavi ruled that there exists "no case" against Shah and that he (Shah) was implicated in the case for "political reasons".
"Amit A. Shah is discharged from the case," the judge ruled, ordering the dropping of charges pertaining to murder, criminal conspiracy and other sections against the BJP chief in the cases dating back to 2005-2006.
The judge said the CBI's inference was not acceptable as there was no case against Shah when the entire records were considered in totality.
He concurred with the contention of Shah's counsel S.V. Raju that the BJP chief - who was then Gujarat home minister - was falsely implicated in the case for political reasons.
This implied that Shah will not stand trial in the sensational case which ruled headlines for many years.
Sohrabuddin's brother Rubabuddin Sheikh Tuesday cried foul, and accused the CBI of being "sold out". He said he would challenge the matter in the Bombay High Court.
A CBI spokesperson said it would study the court order before taking further steps in the matter.
The case dates back to November 2005 when Sohrabuddin, a small-time criminal and his wife Kauserbi, were allegedly picked up by the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad when they were travelling from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra.
Police claimed the couple were linked with Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Sohrabuddin was later killed in an alleged staged shootout, while Kauserbi disappeared after the incident and was believed to have been similarly eliminated.
Sohrabuddin's associate Prajapati - who was a witness to the killing - was also shot dead in Chhapri village in Banaskantha district in December 2006.
Shah, who was then home minister of Gujarat, was accused of being a conspirator in the killings along with some Gujarat Police officials and destroying evidence.
Shah was arrested in July 2010 and was forced to resign as minister, but he secured bail three months later on the condition that he would not enter Gujarat. He lived in New Delhi for the next couple of years.
In September 2012, at the CBI's request for a fair trial since witnesses were allegedly being threatened, the case was transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai, and later in 2013, the Supreme Court clubbed together the Sohrabuddin and Prajapati cases.