Supreme Court issues notice to CBI on IPS officer Pandian's bail plea
The Supreme Court Monday sought the CBI's reply on a bail petition by suspended Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian, who is jailed in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi noted that Pandian had been in judicial custody for around seven years and that the CBI should be asked to respond why he should not be released on bail now. It issued a notice to the CBI and posted the matter for hearing on January 13.
Earlier, pleading for Pandian's bail, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had informed the Bench about the status of the trial. "I am in jail for last nearly seven years and the records, running into over 3,000 pages, are yet to be received by the trial judge. I cannot be kept inside forever," he said.
The Bench agreed with him that incarceration for almost seven years during the pendency of a case required a consideration on bail.
Pandian has moved the apex court after the Bombay High Court on November 20 rejected his bail application. The CBI had opposed the bail application in the high court saying that the police officer is a key accused who had picked up the duo from Hyderabad before they were killed in the alleged fake encounter.
Pandian, along with IPS officer Abhay Chudasama, Rajasthan cadre IPS officer Dinesh M N and other low-rank policemen are lodged in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai after the Supreme Court transferred the trial in the case to Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
The other accused IPS officer, D G Vanzara, was brought back to Ahmedabad in connection with the case of alleged encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others and remains lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail. Former minister of state for home and BJP leader Amit Shah, who is out on bail, is also an accused in the case.