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CBI does not seek Shah custody
- Scope of remand still open, say sleuths
Amit Shah after being taken to magistrate Ashist Dave’s residence by the CBI in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (PTI)

Ahmedabad, July 25: Amit Shah’s lawyer Devang Nanavati said the CBI’s decision not to seek the former minister’s custody was “unusual and very surprising”.

He claimed the agency had not sought Shah’s remand because it had no evidence of his involvement with the fake encounter in which alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin was killed after being pulled from a bus on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

CBI officials said they didn’t need to “interrogate” Shah because the charge-sheet had already been filed but added they would seek his remand when they got fresh evidence. “The scope for further interrogation is open,” an official said.

Sources said the CBI was not expecting Shah to surrender today. “Not seeking his remand could be part of a strategy to interrogate him after arresting certain suspects in Rajasthan in connection with the case,” a source said.

Rajasthan’s marble lobby is alleged to be behind the November 2005 fake encounter to save its traders from Sohrabuddin’s extortion demands.

A PTI report said the CBI was likely to take custody of Shah next week after examining two senior police officers, including Geetha Johri, who was part of the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team probing the 2002 riots.

Sources in the agency said Shah, who was arrested in Gandhinagar today after he surrendered to the CBI, needed to be brought face to face with some people who were being examined in connection with the fake encounter.

The sources said the agency would examine Johri, a 1982-batch IPS officer, and record her statement and also that of former Ahmedabad police commissioner .P. Mathur, who retired last year. Some more police officers and individuals would be questioned, too.

After examining them, the CBI, the sources said, would take custody of Shah, who has been sent to Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad till August 7.

The sources said the CBI would take court permission to bring Shah face to face with some of the police officers already in custody. Four IPS officers are in Sabarmati jail in connection with the case.

Before being taken to jail, Shah said he had “full faith” in the judiciary. “I have full faith in the judiciary, the people of Gujarat and BJP workers. I will fight the battle in the court of law and the party will fight the political battle at a political level,” he said.

Shah said 40 AK-47 rifles, some hundred grenades and ammunition worth Rs 1 lakh had been found in Sohrabuddin’s house. “Can anyone say he was innocent?”

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