Mumbai: Former Bombay High Court judge Justice Abhay M. Thipsay said the high number of discharge orders in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case is alarming.
Justice (retd.) Thipsay, who ruled on four bail pleas in case, told ANI in an interview that discharge means that there is prima facie no case against the accused.
Till now, 16 accused have been discharged in the case, which includes DG Vanzara, former DIG, Gujarat ATS; BJP President Amit Shah, who was then Home Minister of Gujarat; and Gulab Chand Kataria, then Home Minister of Rajasthan.
Justice Thipsay said it was very surprising that those accused were discharged in the case who had got bail with lots of difficulties.
"Discharge means that there is prima facie no case against the accused. It is very difficult for an accused to be discharged who had got bail with lots of difficulties. If there is no prima facie case against anyone then the bail is granted very easily," the judge said.
Replying a question, justice Thipsay said, "The High Court has powers of revision and can set aside the discharge orders. I have come to know that some people have moved revision application in the High Court, which will examine all these aspects. The High Court also has powers to revise other orders also which it finds wrong, and could give directions to frame charges."
Talking about the bail granted by him in the Soharabuddin encounter case, he said, "I had granted bail to accused number 1 D.G. Vanzara because another accused who had similar role in the case did not get bail from high court but when he moved to Supreme Court, he got bail."
He added: "Moreover, while granting bail, no Supreme Court or High Court judge had said that there is no prima facie case against the accused. Discharge means that there is no case against the accused. It is akin to acquittal. Discharge orders in the case have created problems."
Till now 30 witnesses have turned hostile in Sohrabuddin encounter case.
Reacting on witnesses turning hostile, justice Thipsay said, " Witnesses turning hostile is not uncommon, but if large number of witnesses become hostile then it surprises. The judge cannot do anything if there is no evidence."
The Sohrabuddin fake encounter case has once again created ripples in judicial and political corners after the Bombay High Court reprimanded the authorities over witnesses turning hostile.
On a question when did he decide to speak up on this issue, the judge said, "Accidently, I met a journalist and during the discussion I expressed my opinion that accused are being discharged but I don't think so that these cases are fit to be discharged."
According to him, he started examining the discharge orders and bail orders on the request of the journalist and decided to go deeper in the case seeing the high number of discharge orders.