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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Prajapati ‘fake’ encounter: Three more witnesses turn hostile

While the CBI claimed that the Rajasthan Police had arrested Tulsiram Prajapati on November 26, 2005, a witness told the court that the arrest took place on November 29, 2005.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai | Published: July 7, 2018 3:29:29 am
Prajapati ‘fake’ encounter: Three more witnesses turn hostile The CBI claimed that police had taken away Tulsiram Prajapati (in pic) to Rajasthan and showed that he was arrested on November 26, the same day Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed in a fake encounter. (File)

In the Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, three more witnesses did not support the prosecution case, taking the count of hostile witnesses to 83. So far, 136 witnesses have been examined.

On Friday, the first witness to depose was a man who had found the location where Prajapati was living under a false identity in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara in 2005. While the CBI claimed that the Rajasthan Police had arrested Prajapati on November 26, 2005, the witness told the court that the arrest took place on November 29, 2005. Special public prosecutor B P Raju declared him hostile for this contradiction.

According to the CBI, Prajapati was accompanying his associate Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kausarbi in a luxury bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra on the intervening night of November 22 and 23 in 2005. The three were abducted by a team of Gujarat and Rajasthan Police.

The CBI claimed that police had taken away Prajapati to Rajasthan and showed that he was arrested on November 26, the same day Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed in a fake encounter. This, according to the CBI, linked the encounter to the arrest. So far, witnesses, including policemen who were part of the team that arrested Prajapati as well as three members of the family in whose home he was living as a tenant, had told the court that the arrest took place on November 29 and not November 26, 2005.

One of the defence advocates, Wahab Khan, asked the witness during cross-examination, the reason for him specifically remembering the date to be November 29. “I remember the date as November 28 is my marriage anniversary,” the witness told the court.

Two other men, who had acted as panch witnesses were also declared hostile, after they had told the court that they were not present at the time of the identification of Prajapati’s body at the hospital. The CBI had claimed that after Prajapati’s staged encounter on December 28, 2006, his body was sent to Ambaji civil hospital and that it was later handed over to Pawankumar, Prajapati’s brother, who had identified it.

The two had signed on panchnama documents pertaining to this identification but claimed that only their signatures were taken without being explained the contents. “I did not accompany the police anywhere,” the witnesses told the court. Both of whom worked in hotels, said the signatures were taken at their workplaces itself without being taken to the
hospital.

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