Sohrabuddin case: 80 witnesses turned hostile so far

Sohrabuddin case: 80 witnesses turned hostile so far

Sharafat Ali, who had allegedly shared a prison cell with Prajapati and two others, deposed before Judge S J Sharma of the special CBI court here. (Above: PTI file photo of Gujarat police for representational purpose.)

Three more prosecution witnesses today turned hostile in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases, taking the number of such witnesses to 80.

Sharafat Ali, who had allegedly shared a prison cell with Prajapati and two others, deposed before Judge S J Sharma of the special CBI court here.

Ali had told the Central Bureau of Investigation that while he was lodged in the Udaipur jail in 2006 in an Arms Act case, he met Prajapati.

Prajapati told him that he and Sohrabuddin worked for the Gujarat Police, but the police cheated him, Ali had stated.

Prajapati also told him that he knew about the killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi by police, and he was going to disclose all facts to the Gujarat CID, according to Ali's statement to the investigators.

When Ali was released, Prajapati gave him a letter, which mentioned a threat to his life, to be handed over to his (Prajapati's) brother, Ali had said.

However, in the court, Ali disowned his statement. He even denied ever meeting Prajapati in prison. CBI officers forced him to sign some paper after threatening to arrest him, he told the court.

The CBI lawyer declared him as hostile.

Panch witnesses (witnesses who remain present during police procedures) Mahesh Agarwal and Sombhai Banjara were also declared hostile today, as they denied visiting any spot related to the crime.

Police made them sign statements without telling them the content, the two witnesses said.

Meanwhile, the CBI today submitted a list of another 67 witnesses who would be deposing before the court.

The central probe agency has so far examined 132 witnesses, of which 80 have turned hostile.

Shaikh, an alleged gangster, and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat police's Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra in November 2005. According to the CBI, Shaikh was killed in a fake encounter and Kausar Bi too was killed later.

Prajapati, Shaikh's aide who was said to be a witness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri in Gujarat's Banaskantha district in December 2006.

The CBI filed a charge sheet against 38 persons for the alleged fake encounters. The trial court discharged 14 of them for lack of evidence.

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