More than 15 days after he claimed that the trial in the alleged fake encounter of his brother Sohrabuddin Shaikh “was not being conducted properly”, Rubabuddin Shaikh approached the special CBI court on Wednesday through his lawyer seeking a date to appear as a prosecution witness.
Rubabuddin, in his application, said he is a “crucial” witness and in the interest of justice, he may be given an opportunity to appear before the court. He said although he was called to appear as a witness on October 18, he was unable to appear due to “unavoidable and compelling” circumstances. He said he was suffering from ailments that restricted his movement and he was unable to travel without assistance.
The court heard both sides – special public prosecutor B P Raju and the defence advocates – and based on their no-objection, directed Rubabuddin to appear before it on November 17.
Rubabuddin, the first informant in the case, was included in the final list of witnesses to be examined by the CBI. But he had not appeared, despite being summoned multiple times. On August 6, Rubabuddin, through his advocate, Gautam Tiwari, claimed that he met with an accident, along with his brother Nayamuddin, in Madhya Pradesh on July 24 and hence was unable to appear.
After repeated summons, on September 1, the court said it was a “delay tactic” by the brothers to protract the trial refusing to issue any more warrants or summons.
On September 17, Nayamuddin appeared in court and deposed. Rubabuddin remained absent. On October 16, the court said as he was not willing to appear, it will proceed with the trial to record the evidence of the chief investigating officers. When contacted, Rubabuddin said he had returned the summons with an “objection”, as he was not happy with the way the trial was being conducted. Rubabuddin had claimed that the CBI is trying to shield the accused and wrap up the case as soon as possible.
On Wednesday, Rubabuddin said that while he continued to remain apprehensive about the way the CBI is conducting the trial, he is planning to appear as a witness on the advice of his lawyer. It was on the petition filed by Rubabuddin in the Supreme Court that directions for a preliminary inquiry had been given, which subsequently led to lodging an FIR against Gujarat and Rajasthan policemen into the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi on November 26, 2005.
Rubabuddin also filed an appeal against the discharge of IPS officers Dinesh M N, Rajkumar Pandiyan and D G Vanzara before the Bombay HC, which was rejected last month.