IN THE Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, three of the four witnesses examined on Wednesday were declared hostile.
Two of the witnesses were allegedly present at the time of the inquest or judicial inquiry being conducted by an executive magistrate after Prajapati’s alleged encounter on December 28, 2006. On Wednesday, however, the two told the court they were not present at the hospital during the inquest. Both the men told the court that they have shops in Ambaji in Gujarat. One of them told the court that policemen had approached him at his shop and asked him to come to a police chowkie where his signatures were taken on some documents. He further said the police did not explain the contents of the documents and he did not recollect what it was in reference to.
The other witness, who had signed as the second panch on the inquest panchanama drawn in their presence, told the court that his signatures were taken by the police in his shop itself. Both of them denied that they were taken to a hospital in Ambaji where they had seen a male body lying on a stretcher. They also denied that it was examined and each of the details about the injuries on the body were noted down in their presence. They also denied that the police had seized a Samsung mobile handset, a packet of cigarettes and cartridges found on the deceased person.
Two other witnesses also deposed on seizures made at the spot of the alleged encounter in Ambaji. The police had claimed to have seized a countrymade firearm from which Prajapati had allegedly fired at the police team, cartridges, broken plastic pieces of a signal light of a jeep that was shot at and sample soil from the spot. The first panch witness with reference to these articles told the court that he was not taken to the spot and that he was made to sign on documents at the police station. He was also declared hostile.
The second panch witness, an advocate, told the court that he was traveling on the road where the incident took place and had stopped to see why the police had gathered. He was then approached by policemen who asked him to become a panch witness. The witness then identified each of the seized items to be those shown to him in 2006. While cross-examining him, the defence advocates questioned the witness on how he had been able to identify the mud to be the same as was seized in 2006.
The witness told the court that it was commonly found in the Aravali range and that it was picked up from the jungle area where the incident had taken place. The witness had also said during his deposition that while he did not know what the incident was, he had been witness to the items being sealed and sent for further probe. So far, 129 witnesses have been examined of which 77 have turned hostile.