The ghost of Sohrabuddin Sheikh's alleged fake encounter has resurfaced with BJP president Amit Shah being called into question again. 

Why is Shah being targeted all over again, all these years after he had been given a clean chit by the courts? The answer may lie in the fact that Shah is no less than No 2 in the BJP structure, only behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many say that he is even stronger than national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval. Hence, the plan by vested interests to corner him, especially when we are already into the election season, and the all-important Lok Sabha elections only a few months away.      

Facts even Congress agree with

To begin with, there are certain facts that are beyond dispute, which have never been questioned even by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. That Sohrabuddin was a dreaded terrorist, and that he was in the possession of as many as 80 AK47 rifles, which are solely meant for use by the security forces are beyond dispute. What's also beyond question is that Sohrabuddin had hundreds of AK47 cartridges and hand grenades. He was convicted by a TADA court. These weapons were found from his farm in Madhya Pradesh when the Congress was at the helm of affairs in the state.

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When CBI was not a 'caged parrot'

The country's premier investigative agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was brought in to probe if the encounter was genuine or state-managed. However, court documents, many of which are now in the public domain, clearly show that the CBI's line of investigation wasn't to probe whether the encounter was genuine or fake. Instead, it was eager to link the encounter with the Gujarat BJP, presuming it was a fake encounter.

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Shah was arrested, but not interrogated

CBI arrested Shah, the then home minister of Gujarat. The BJP cried foul saying it was a politically-motivated move. The Congress backed the CBI saying the arrest was important for the investigation. In all fairness, many investigations demand important politicians to be interrogated to establish the truth. However, the catch here is, there was no interrogation. Shah was straightaway sent to judicial custody without any questioning. In fact, when he was released on a regular bail by the Gujarat high court, it was observed that there was no material against Amit Shah. The CBI challenged the verdict in favour of Shah in the Supreme Court, but failed.

Case moved from Gujarat to Maharashtra

The Supreme Court directed the transfer of the case from Gujarat to Maharashtra and the judge who was to preside over the trial was ordered to be selected by the administrative committee of the Bombay high court. The panel consisted of the chief justice and four other judges.

With the case moving out of Shah's home state and a board consisting of the chief justice selecting the sessions judge, it was felt the proceedings would be free and without any pressure. Still, Shah was cleared of all allegations.

So why the allegations against Shah now?

Shah may have been accused of very serious allegations, but has been cleared of all offences by competent courts. At the end of the day, that's what matters under the rule of law. The question now is, why suddenly has the matter been raked up again? 

The reality is, Sandeep Tamgade and Amitabh Thakur, two CBI officers who had investigated Shah and mounted charges (many of which have been rubbished by the courts) against him, were called for deposition before the trial court where the Sohrabuddin case is being heard. It may be noted that while the case is still not closed, Shah had long been exonerated. The two CBI officers have linked Shah with the case again, despite the link being rejected by various courts earlier. Is there pressure exerted on the two CBI officers by the opposition to drag Shah's name into the case again? That looks to be what has exactly happened.