New Delhi: Judge Robin Paul Mogera, who is hearing Rahul Gandhi’s appeal in a Surat court in the Modi surname defamation case, was Union home minister Amit Shah’s lawyer in the 2006 Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.
Gandhi has filed an appeal against his conviction and two-year prison sentence in a 2019 defamation case. According to Bar and Bench, Judge Mogera on Thursday (April 13) is specifically hearing Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction, so that his disqualification from the Lok Sabha can be reversed.
The Wire has confirmed from sources in Surat that R.P. Mogera, who was appointed judge in January 2018, is Robin Mogera – who, as a lawyer, had defended Shah in the 2006 fake encounter case that caught national attention. Shah was then Gujarat’s home minister. Judge Mogera represented him at least until 2014, when the fake encounter case was being heard at a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai.
Earlier, the Hindi daily Jansatta also reported that Judge Mogera represented Shah at the CBI court in 2014 in the fake encounter case.
The Hindu reported in 2014 that the CBI court had pulled up Shah’s counsel Mogera for “not assigning a reason in his application” in which he requested that Shah should be exempted from being physically present at the court’s hearings. This was one of his many requests for the BJP leader’s exemption from the hearings.
Judge Mogera is the 8th Additional District And Sessions Judge, Surat.
Given that the Congress has projected Gandhi’s conviction and subsequent disqualification from the Lok Sabha as a result of the BJP’s alleged vendetta politics, any adverse order against the Congress leader by Judge Mogera could be seen as arising from a conflict of interest.
Prajapati, a small-time “criminal”, was 28 when he was killed in an alleged fake encounter that year in what the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) calls an “interstate politician-police nexus”.
The initial chargesheet filed in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi-Tulsiram Prajapati murder case by the CBI had named 37 persons, which included Shah, and Rajasthan’s ex-deputy chief minister Gulabchand Kataria, several IPS officers from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and low-rung police officials. All the political names and senior IPS officers were later dropped from the case, and the trial was conducted only against low-rung policemen.