The CBI is yet to receive copy of the order in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh-Kausar Bi fake encounter case, an agency spokesperson said on Friday in a cautious response to queries related to its future course of action.
All 22 accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Tulsi Prajapati were acquitted Friday by a special CBI court because of insufficient evidence, even as it expressed sorrow over the loss of "three lives."
The spokesperson also remained economical in using words and refused to commit to the usual response of the CBI that it would study the order before deciding on filing of appeal in the matter.
He said his statement is limited to the sentence,"the CBI is yet to receive the order."
The agency which had reacted within minutes of the 2G scam verdict stating that it would file an appeal against the order stopped short of making any commitment on filing an appeal against the Special CBI court verdict acquitting 22 accused in the 13-year old fake encounter case.
The accused, who were mostly police officials from Gujarat and Rajasthan, were out on bail during the year-long trial after 92 of the total 210 prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
The three victims who were returning to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad in a bus were taken into custody by a police team on the night of November 22-23, 2005. The couple were taken in one vehicle and Prajapati in another.
CBI, the prosecuting agency, had alleged that Shaikh was killed on November 26, 2005, by a joint team comprising Gujarat and Rajasthan police, and Kausar Bi three days later.
Prajapati, who was lodged in an Udaipur central jail, was killed in an encounter on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border on December 27, 2006.
Despite sincere efforts made by the prosecution, a cogent case could not be established since the CBI lacked documentary evidence and reliable witnesses, the judge said.
"Two main prosecution witnesses turned hostile. What could the prosecution have done? It couldnt have forced them not to turn hostile," the judge said.
When the CBI took over the case, it had charged 38 persons, including Amit Shah, who was then Gujarat home minister, Gulabchand Kataria, the then Rajasthan home minister, and and senior IPS officers like D G Vanzara and P C Pande.
The prosecution had examined 210 witnesses, of which 92 turned hostile.
Sixteen people, including Shah, Kataria, Vanzara and Pande were earlier discharged by the CBI court due to lack of evidence against them.
The case also evoked controversy when judge B H Loya, who was presiding over the CBI court, died three years ago after a heart attack.
His family made unsubstantiated allegations that the judge was offered a huge bribe to rule in favour of the prime accused.