The Supreme Court Thursday directed the Gujarat government to make available to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) details of phone calls made between senior police officers and other functionaries of the state during the 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
The direction came from the supreme court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai after counsel Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court in the case, told the court that the investigating agency was not provided with the call records of the period when Sohrabuddin Sheikh was abducted and killed in a staged shootout.
The court was hearing a petition seeking the recall of its Jan 12, 2010 verdict transferring investigation into the case to the CBI.
The court has asked the CBI to carry out thorough investigations into the matter.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were taken off from a bus on the outskirts of Ahmedabad Nov 23, 2005. In the wee hours of Nov 26, 2005, Sheikh was killed in a staged shootout. Kausarbi went missing subsequently.
The bench asked Additional Advocate General of Gujarat Tushar Mehta to apprise the court of the exact position of the case on next hearing Wednesday. Mehta told the court that if call record CDs were available with the state police, then they will be given to CBI.
Subramanium told the court that the state police is maintaining that the call records available with it relate to the period when Sohrabuddin’s aide Tulsiram Prajapati was killed.
He said that while call records would not disclose the conversations that took place, they would reveal who was in touch with whom during the period.
Disputing the position of two telecom operators who said they did not have the records of the calls made in 2005, Gopal Subramanium said that he had some knowledge of technology used by the service providers and call records can be retrieved.
It has been contended that it were the call details of the then deputy superintendent of police Narendra Amin which revealed that when Kausarbi was cremated at DIG D.G. Vanzara’s village Illol, he was in touch with the former minister of state for home Amit Shah.
Senior counsel Vivek Tanka, appearing for the CBI, told the court: “They (police) did not give us anything by way of telephone call records of important people.”
“(Inspector General of Police Geetha Johri) says that she had handed over all the records to the Additional Director General O.P. Mathur, but call record CDs were not given to us along with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case records,” he told the court.
Counsel for Robabuddin Sheikh, Sohrabuddin’s brother, told the court that while call records of people like Amit Shah, Vanzara and Amin were not being provided, call details of other police officers during the period were made available.