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Apex court bypasses Gujarat

New Delhi, May 17: The Supreme Court today refused to order a CBI probe into the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh but insulated Gujarat police from any attempt to influence the outcome of the investigation.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Tarun Chatterjee said inspector-general of police Geeta Johri, who heads the investigating team, would “report” to the apex court and not the state police chief.

The controversy had taken on political colours with the UPA at the Centre joining Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin in demanding a CBI probe and the Narendra Modi government opposing the move.

Although the decision is being seen as a victory for the state, the apex court has, in fact, taken a middle path by giving a free hand to Johri.

“The investigating agency shall submit a report on the investigation to this court only,’’ the court said. It added that there was no need for Johri’s team to take permission from the Gujarat director-general of police “in the matter of investigation”, nor would the DGP interfere in the process.

The bench directed the state government to submit its final report on the case on July 3, when the investigation is likely to be over.

Attorney-general Milon K. Banerjee had appeared on behalf of the Centre and sought a CBI probe, saying Gujarat police might not be impartial.

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