The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday held that the special CBI court here is competent to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the investigating agency in the fake encounter case of Tulsi Prajapati.
The court criticised the CBI for deviating from the judicial tradition by filing the charge sheet in the case before the Danta Court in Banaskantha, which had become a major issue after the accused in the case had objected to it, citing jurisdiction issue.
Justice RS Shukla, while setting aside the order of the Danta Court to take cognisance of the charge sheet, also directed it to allow CBI to take all the papers filed along with the charge sheet and present it before the CBI court.
Five accused who were named in the charge sheet, including ex-DGP PC Pande and ADGP Geeta Johri, had challenged the September 18 order of the JMFC, Danta, which had accepted the charge sheet filed by CBI saying that it was the competent court to take its cognisance.
Criticising the CBI, the judge said, "High Court and state of Gujarat have formed two special CBI courts by issuing notification on January 11, 2002 and since then a series of cases which have been investigated by the agency are filed in these two courts.
"In this particular case (Tulsi Prajapati), CBI has conveniently preferred to file charge sheet in Danta court, whereas the agency has registered the FIR in the same special CBI court here," the court observed.
When the probing agency is aware of the judicial tradition of special CBI court's jurisdiction, the High Court is wondering how did it file the charge sheet in Danta court, the court observed.
Advocate Mukul Sinha, appearing for Tulsi's mother Narmada Bai Prajapati, had also supported the prayer of the accused by telling the court that Danta Court does not have jurisdiction to take cognisance of the charge sheet.
Prajapati, a witness of the abduction and subsequent killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kauser Bi, was killed in a fake encounter allegedly by Gujarat Police at Chhapri, near the temple town of Ambaji in Banaskantha, on December 28, 2006.