TWO investigating officers who examined key witnesses in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases deposed before the special court on Thursday. Gujarat CID officer O B Sharma, who examined 12 witnesses, including Nathuba Jadeja, the key eyewitness, who had accompanied accused policemen for the alleged abduction of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausarbi and Tulsiram, told the court that he had recorded his statement as per his say. Jadeja was declared hostile during the trial and had previously claimed that he had been confined and pressured into giving a false statement against the accused.
Sharma had also been part of a panchnama prepared on May 1, 2007, where Jadeja had allegedly pointed out the place at Illol village where Kausarbi’s body had been burnt. While he submitted before the court that the panchnama was conducted, video cassettes of the panchnama were not shown to him. Those who recorded the video have not been examined so far and the panchas who were part of the procedure have not supported the prosecution case.
Sharma was also not asked by the prosecution regarding the statement he had recorded of one of Tulsiram’s lawyers, Mohammed Salim Chandmiya Hakim, who has passed away. According to the chargesheet, Salim had made an oral submission before a court where Tulsiram was produced in 2006 and had spoken regarding the threat to his life. During his cross-examination, Sharma was asked if he had conducted the probe in line with the preliminary inquiry conducted on the directions of the Supreme Court in 2006, to which he answered in affirmative.
The other investigating officer who deposed, A S Shukla, had recorded statements, including those of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi’s family members. The statements of Kausarbi’s family members, including that of her first husband, had been recorded to prove her identity. Statements of others, including those who solemnised the wedding of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi, were also recorded by Shukla. Apart from Sohrabuddin’s brothers, other family members, including Kausarbi’s, have not been summoned by the court as witnesses.
Shukla, while answering questions during his cross-examination by defence advocates, said he had not shown photographs of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi to his family for identification. Shukla said Kausarbi’s husband had identified the photograph shown to him to be that of Shehnaz, which he claimed was Kausarbi’s real name. Meanwhile, Tulsiram Prajapati’s mother, Narmadabai, who was to depose before court on Thursday, did not appear. The prosecution informed the court that summons had not been served to her.
The court has issued a non-bailable warrant against her, directing her to be produced before court on October 22.
V L Solanki, the retired Gujarat Police officer, who was to depose before the special court on Friday, said he has not received summons for his appearance as a prosecution witness. Solanki said he was only informed by CBI officials on Thursday evening regarding his appearance.
Earlier, Solanki had sought security citing threat to his life and the court had directed that he should be provided with protection. On Thursday, a CBI officer informed the court that the DGP, Gujarat, had given instructions to the Ahmedabad Commissioner to provide him with security. Solanki, who retired in 2007, had been given protection earlier. But his security cover was withdrawn over a month back.