Why Is Every Media House Scared To Cover The Sohrabuddin Case Story?

A few days ago, Caravan Magazine published this story about the CBI Special Court judge who was offered a bribe in a case involving the BJP’s general secretary, Amit Shah. Now, something this high profile would have easily captured the fancies of print, TV and digital media. But apart from Scroll, The Wire, Firstpost, and of course Caravan, no major Indian player seems to be interested. Least of all the big media houses.

The Telegraph put out an article regarding this, and there are some smaller outlets which seem to be picking this up, namely the National Herald, The New Indian Express and The Logical Indian. If more pop up by the time I publish this, then I am eternally grateful to them for getting this to people. Because in the words of Rohan Joshi (Yes, the comedian), Kaneez Surka and many others….

DO. NOT. LET. THIS. DIE.

Apologies for being so overly dramatic.

First, a bit of history. In 2005, a man by the name of Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in an encounter with the Gujarat Police, stating that he was a LeT terrorist on a dangerous mission. A SIT set up by the Supreme Court later found out that all of this was false and that Sheikh, his wife, and an associate by the name of  Tulsiram Prajapati had been detained by the police 3 days prior to the encounter.

The investigations further revealed that Sheikh had been killed in an extrajudicial execution by the Gujrat Police. His name was cleared.

While you’re here, why not read this?: Blinking First Vs Playing The Long Game: What India’s Strategy In The Doklam Standoff Tells Us

But in December of 2006, Prajapati, an eyewitness in the Sheikh Case was killed. It was also found phone record suggesting that Amit Shah was in contact with the accused police officers from September of 2006 and January of 2007.

In January of 2010, the SC transferred the case to the CBI. The agency asked that the case is shifted out of Gujarat as witnesses were being intimidated. Not so soon after (in 2012), the case was shifted to Mumbai and JT Utpat was appointed as the judge. The SC also said that only one judge would conduct the trial from start to finish.

As cases go in India, this one also continued, until 2014, when the BJP government came to power. Up until that point, Shah had not made a personal appearance in court, even when he was just 1.5 km away from the complex.

His lawyers stated many reasons for his absence. On July 6, 2014, the judge made his displeasure known. He was soon removed and replaced Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who exempted Shah on every occasion.

This was in clear violation of the aforementioned Supreme Court order

Some accused policemen were also discharged including former Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief DG Vanzara and Rajasthan cadre Indian Police Service officer MN Dinesh.

Be that as it may, the trial further continued. But Loya died sometime between November 30, 2014, and December 1, 2014. His replacement MB Gosavi decided to hear Shah’s discharge petition, which was not heard by JT Utpat, as he wanted a personal appearance by Shah.

Gosavi cleared Shah of all charges on December 30, 2014, stating that the case was foisted on Shah because of “political reasons”.

Gosavi cleared Shah of all charges on December 30, 2014

All of this was long forgotten, until a few days ago when the Caravan Magazine published an interview with the late Brijgopal Loya’s relatives who had some startling allegations.

They said that the then Mumbai High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah had asked Loya to deliver a “positive judgment” in the Sohrabuddin Case and offered him Rs. 100 Crore to do so.

The Chief Justice offered 100 crore for a “positive judgement”

They further raised doubts on the official reason for Loya’s death, which was a heart attack. Saying that they did not authorize the autopsy, it was signed by a paternal cousin brother. Loya’s father says that he does not have such a relative in Nagpur, where the autopsy was conducted. See the video below for the entire interview.

I do not know what the reality is, but I do know that this news is not being covered by the national media. There are no front page banners in TOI, HT or the Hindu. No TV channel is covering it. Zip, zilch, nada.

Those of us who read the few websites who have covered this, know about this. The majority of the population does not.

This active suppression of stories is undemocratic at the very core. Suppressing it is not normal, for it merely opens the road to an authoritarian state, where there is no questioning those at the top. No one is above the law if somebody tries to act such, it is our duty to report it in an unbiased manner, favoring none.

Alas, the current atmosphere in our country prevents me from saying more, and it is this atmosphere that is stopping those who protested Indira Gandhi’s gags from reporting it.

It is up to us to make this known. Fear, not the trolls. Let the sharing begin.

Edit: NDTV’s Ravish did cover this

Image Credits: Google Images


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