IN THE alleged fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati, a Gujarat IPS officer said on Tuesday he had submitted an affidavit in a court in Ahmedabad, mentioning details of his statement given to the CBI.
He said he did so after learning that details coming out in certain newspapers were “contradictory” to what he had told the CBI.
The witness told the court he was posted at Palanpur, Gujarat, as deputy superintendent in 2006 on probation for field training. He said on December 26, 2006, he reported at Palanpur to then Superintendent of Banaskantha district, Vipul Agarwal. A murder had taken place in that jurisdication and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Palanpur, was on leave, the witness told the court, adding that he was then told to take charge and go for a visit pertaining to the murder case. He said after the visit that day, he stayed at the circuit house in Ambaji area.
Further, the witness said that on December 28, 2006, he was informed about an exchange of fire between the police and criminals in Ambaji and that he visited Ambaji hospital and met Agarwal. According to him, he saw Gujarat police sub-inspector Ashish Pandya in an injured state. He said he had learnt that the exchange of fire had taken place between policemen and a criminal named Tulsiram Prajapati.
He subsequently visited the encounter spot along with officers of the forensic science laboratory and the investigating officer. He said the investigating officer directed the FSL officers to collect samples from the spot for further investigation. Eventually on December 30, when the SDPO, Palanpur, reported back to duty, he handed over charge to him.
On being asked by special public prosecutor B P Raju about the hospital visit, the witness told the court he had seen Pandya in the hospital in a conscious state.
“He was injured but able to speak,” the witness said. Raju asked him if he had seen Agarwal and Pandya. The witness said he had seen Agarwal and Pandya talking about how the incident happened. He said the FIR was given by Pandya and the IO took down his statement at the hospital.
According to the CBI, in a statement given by the witness on June 8, 2011, he had claimed that he had seen Agarwal sitting next to Pandya and both of them were talking to then DIG (Border Range) (who was Vanzara at that time) over the mobile phone of Pandya. In this statement, the witness claimed that he had seen that the DIG was dictating them the contents of the FIR to be registered.
The witness did not refer to any of this during his deposition. While Pandya is among the 22 accused facing trial currently, Agarwal’s appeal against his discharge application being rejected by the trial court is pending before the Bombay High Court.
The HC has granted a stay on the trial against Agarwal so far. “In certain newspapers, the details of my statement given to the CBI were contrary to what was stated by me to CBI. Therefore, I gave an affidavit in CBI court, Ahmedabad, mentioning the details of my statement to the CBI,” the witness said. Another witness who deposed on Tuesday was an investigating officer pertaining to the Prajapati case.
He deposed on the panchnamas conducted by him on the seizures of fire weapons from the policemen and Prajapati and the statements recorded as part of the investigation.