Accused cops face SIMI threat in Mumbai, Gujarat tells court

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A city court on Friday rejected a Gujarat Police plea requesting transfer of nine accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case to a jail in the neighbouring state, as they faced danger to their lives from the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India activists.

The nine accused were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate A A Khan here on Friday. They were sent to Arthur Road jail till December 7.

In an affidavit filed before the court, the Gujarat police claimed that the Maharashtra state intelligence had intimated them about an alleged conspiracy hatched by Surat-based SIMI activists to attack the nine accused. Fearing life threat to four accused policemen, including suspended DIG D G Vanzara, the Gujarat Police annexed correspondence between the Home departments of Gujarat and Maharashtra, claiming that money was paid to a group of SIMI activists, also lodged in Arthur Road jail, to attack the accused.

The intelligence input was generated on November 5, a copy of which is available with The Indian Express. The Gujarat Police suggested video conferencing as an option that the court could avail while conducting the trial.

The court, however, rejected the affidavit and directed the Superintendent of Arthur Road jail to file an affidavit by November 26, stating measures for safe custody of the accused.

Eight of the 19 accused, including former minister of state for home Amit Shah, who are out on bail, were present before the Metropolitan Magistrate court after summons were issued to them in the case.

Sohrabbudin and his wife Kausarbi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.

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