udaipur : The partymen and activists rejoiced after the court discharged Kataria in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Large number of supporters gathered at the Surajpole Choraha in the evening to celebrate the event. Fire works and sweet distribution marked the celebration as frenzy crowd danced to the beats of drums. Meanwhile, after being discharged of the case, the possibilities of Kataria filing a defamation suit is also being discussed. “ It is too early to announce it now, but we will take into consideration all the options available now that he has been discharged” said Kataria’s lawyer Roshanlal Jain, who also happens to be his Samdhi (daughters Father-in-Law). “ The decision of the court has once again established that Truth alone triumphs. There was no single evidence CBI could produce against Kataria and we knew it clearly that made up charges wont help them in the long run. This has been a case of sheer political revenge by the prior government to malign his repute. But all’s well that ends well” Jain said.
Underworld criminal Sohrabbudin Sheikh and his wife Kausarbi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad and killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar on November 26, 2005. A year later, on December 26, 2006, Sheikh’s underworld associate Tulsiram Prajapati, a witness to Sheikh’s killing, was also killed in another police encounter shooting. According to police, Sheikh was involved in arms smuggling in Madhya Pradesh and also had murder cases registered against him in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Sheikh was also said to be associated with the banned global terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence. He had allegedly demanded Rs 24 crore from Vimal Patni, a leading marble businessman in Udaipur, as protection money and this was the prime reason why he was eliminated. According to the chargesheet, Patni had sought Kataria’s help who was the home minister then, and the latter had ordered the Udaipur police to kill Sheikh in a fake encounter. The Supreme Court ordered the transfer of Sheikh encounter case from Gujarat to Maharashtra after the CBI said witnesses were being intimidated and the trial could not be held in a free and fair manner in Gujarat.
May 7, 2013- CBI filed the third chargesheet framing Kataria’s involvement in the case
May 14, 2013- the court take cognizance and summons issued
June 2013- Kataria pleads for anticipatory bail, granted
July 5, 2013- Kataria gets interim bail
August 2013- Kataria files application u/s 227 of CrPC to be discharged from the case on the basis of lack of evidence
February 2014- Application put up seeking exemption from personal appearance in each hearing
August 2014- Kataria exempted from personal appearance
December 2014- Final argument on application 227 to be discharged from the case
February 26, 2015- Court discharge Kataria of all charges