Former Rajasthan Minister Gulabchand Kataria Discharged in Sohrabuddin Encounter Case

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Former Rajasthan Minister Gulabchand Kataria Discharged in Sohrabuddin Encounter Case
New Delhi: 

Rajasthan home minister Gulabchand Kataria and marble baron Vimal Patni have been discharged by a special court hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.The court said the evidence against them was "insufficient".

Mr Kataria, who was the home minister of Rajasthan in 2005 as well, was accused of being part of the conspiracy to eliminate Sohrabuddin at the behest of the marble lobby in Rajasthan.

According to the prosecution, Sohrabuddin, a small-time criminal, had demanded Rs 24 crore from Mr Patni as protection money, which was why he was eliminated.

Mr Kataria's name was included in a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which was investigating the case. He maintained that this was a political conspiracy against him.  

Today, Mr Kataria told reporters that he knew the truth would "come out".

"I never met Vanzara (Senior officer of Gujarat police) in Udaipur as is alleged and neither did I speak with him on the phone ever. In fact, the day they said I met Vanzara, I was in Mumbai for a BJP meeting," he said, referring to the charges against him.  

Mr Kataria was the second high-profile politician to be discharged in the case after BJP president Amit Shah. Mr Shah was discharged in December. DG Vanzara, an accused in the case, has recently got bail.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were killed in November 2005. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which was investigating the case, says officials of the Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad had killed them in a fake encounter.



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