October 4, 2018 2:36:40 am
IN THE Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, the defence claimed that the accused policemen had visited various hotels and dharamshalas in Ambaji in Gujarat to look for Tulsiram after he escaped from custody.
The CBI claims that the accused had staged Tulsiram’s escape from their custody while he was being escorted from Ahmedabad after a court hearing back to Udaipur central jail in December 2006. CBI claims that Tulsiram had never escaped but was shown to have been killed in an encounter at Ambaji. Advocate Rajesh Bindra, representing Gujarat policeman Ashish Pandya, who claims to have been shot at during Tulsiram’s encounter, while cross-examining chief investigating officer Binay Kumar, claimed that the CBI had “suppressed” facts by not examining hotel owners who deposed in favour of the accused.
Bindra asked Kumar if during his probe it was revealed that some of the hotel owners had said that policemen had indeed come to search for Tulsiram after his escape. Bindra said that there were entries in hotel registers to show the police checks. Kumar said that while there were entries and he had recorded statements of hotel owners, they had said that they did not remember the timing of the checks conducted on December 27, 2006 nor did he know who the policemen were. “There were also other hotel owners who said that no checks were conducted,” Kumar told the court.
Kumar was also asked about Gujarat CID officer R K Patel, from whom he had taken over the probe after it was transferred to the CBI. Patel, who was the investigating officer, was later named as an accused in the case, with the CBI claiming that he intentionally delayed the probe and pressured witnesses in favour of the accused policemen. Kumar was asked if he had called Patel for assistance with the probe when he was investigating the case. Kumar confirmed that he had taken Patel’s help. “It is true that I called R K Patel many times for help with the probe and he came each time. It is true that I had not received any complaint against Patel in the course of my probe,” Kumar said.
Kumar, who was the additional SP in CBI in 2011-12 during the probe, is currently an SP in CBI, Delhi. He told the court that he had a dedicated team of officers whom he had supervised in conducting the probe in Tulsiram’s encounter. He said that he did not recall all the names of the witnesses he had examined. Kumar was examined pertaining to witnesses and evidence only with the current set of 22 accused facing trial, leaving out the 16 discharged.
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