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Bombay High Court reserved order on the challenging the trial court’s rejection of his discharge plea 

THE BOMBAY High Court on Thursday reserved order on the revision application of Gujarat IPS officer Vipul Aggarwal, challenging the trial court’s rejection of his discharge plea. Aggarwal is among the 23 accused in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases. The HC, which was also hearing five other revision applications challenging the discharge of police officers in the case, has reserved those for order as well.

Justice A M Badar, on July 4, had started hearing the revision applications — three applications filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin challenging the discharge of former Gujarat DIG D G Vanzara and IPS officers Dinesh M N and Rajkumar Pandian, along with two applications filed by the CBI challenging the discharge of Rajasthan Police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod and Gujarat Police officer N K Amin.

According to the CBI chargesheet, on Vanzara’s instructions, Aggarwal had summoned ATS officer Ashish Pandya, who was on leave, to carry out Shaikh’s associate Prajapati’s alleged fake encounter. Aggarwal, as alleged, had “intentionally destroyed” the leave record of co-accused Pandya, as part of the criminal conspiracy.

While concluding his arguments on Thursday, Aggarwal’s lawyer Rajput Karansingh said that parity is sought in the case where the crime committed by the accused is similar in nature but Aggarwal’s role was even less than Vanzara, who has been discharged by the trial court. Karansingh said that “on merit, Aggawal’s case stands on a better footing”.

He added that his second discharge application was rejected last year only as the trial court had said it cannot review its own order. On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, had opposed Aggarwal’s discharge application. He had said that Aggarwal’s role was different from Vanzara’s alleged role.

Last week, senior counsel Shirish Gupte, also appearing for Aggarwal, had urged the court to consider the depositions of the witnesses who have recorded their statements on oath before the trial court. Gupte told the court: “This evidence on oath is going to be used by the trial court.”

On Wednesday, Sohrabuddin’s lawyer Dinesh Tiwari had also opposed Aggarwal’s discharge application. Tiwari had said that the statement of Pandya’s wife confirms that he was on leave to celebrate her birthday. There is enough collaborative evidence to show the major role of Aggarwal to call Pandya back from his leave, he added. Tiwari further said that Aggarwal’s official duty was to “uphold the rule of law” and not to “oblige his superior officers”.

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