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However, the CBI had decided not to challenge the trial court order that absolved senior officers, including former deputy inspector general of Gujarat D G Vanzara, Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh MN, and Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan, in connection with the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati, they said.
The CBI's submissions came while a single bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing a revision application filed by Sohrabuddin Shaikh's brother Rubabuddin Shaikh, challenging the trial court orders of discharge of these officers.
Rubabuddin Shaikh has filed separate petitions challenging the discharge of the three officers from the case.
However, his counsel advocate Gautam Tiwari told the high court today that while they had been able to serve notices to Dinesh MN and Pandiyan in the case, they had been unable to trace the address or contact details of Vanzara.
"The CBI is a premier probe agency. It should not encounter any impediment in finding the respondent's (Vanzara's) whereabouts, or getting his address. We often direct the investigating officers to serve notices, so in this case the CBI should do it to avoid further delays in hearing," Justice Mohite-Dere said.
The special CBI court in Mumbai, hearing the case after the Supreme Court ordered for the trial to be transferred out of Gujarat, had discharged the above three officials on the ground that the CBI had failed to get prior sanction or the special permission to prosecute them.
However, on a previous hearing, Justice Mohite-Dere had questioned whether the lack of such sanction alone could be an adequate reason to warrant an accused person's discharge from the case.
Of the 38 people accused in the case, 15, including 14 IPS officers, have been discharged by the special court.
The CBI has challenged the discharge of two junior officers, and one of the 14 senior officers (N K Amin) accused in the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kauser Bi, and also that of Ishrat Jahan.
Shaikh was killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005, after which his wife disappeared.
Prajapati, an aide of Shaikh and an eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police in Chapri village in Gujarat's Banaskantha district in December 2006.
Vanzara, who was heading the ATS at the time, was charged by the CBI for having conspired with the other accused officials to kill Shaikh and the other victims and pass the incident off as an encounter.