A former fellow jail inmate of Tulsiram Prajapati, who was allegedly killed by the Rajasthan Police in a fake encounter in 2006, on Friday said before a special CBI court that the CBI had asked him to make a false statement against Gujarat IPS officer Abhay Chudasama in 2010.
The man, who appeared before the court as a prosecution witness, claimed that when he was attending a court hearing in Ahmedabad in 2010, his co-accused, Azam Khan, introduced him to a CBI officer, identified as Dagar.
“I was told that ‘give a statement against Abhay Chudasama or you will be in more trouble’… My statement was not read out to me, only my signature was taken on two pages,” the witness told the court. Chudasama, then SP, was discharged from the case by the trial court in April 2015.
The CBI has claimed that Prajapati, along with Sohrabuddin (his associate) and his wife Kausarbi, were abducted by a team of Gujarat Police officers on November 23, 2005 and later he was shown arrested by the Rajasthan Police. While Shaikh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter at Hyderabad in 2005, Prajapati was allegedly killed in another staged encounter in 2006 as he was a witness to the couple’s abduction. Kausarbi was also allegedly subsequently killed.
The witness said that he was introduced to Sohrabuddin and his associate Prajapati in 2004. He claimed that at Sohrabuddin’s instance, he and Prajapati had gone to extort money from a businessman in Gujarat. The witness said that in 2004, he was named along with Sohrabuddin, Prajapati, Khan and others in the murder case of one Hamid Lala. Apart from Sohrabuddin and Prajapati, all the other accused were arrested and lodged in Udaipur central jail in the case, he added.
“While I was in jail, I read in the newspaper about the killing of Sohrabuddin… and after three days of the incident, Prajapati was arrested and sent to Udaipur central jail… Prajapati told me in the jail that if he had gone to Hyderabad along with Sohrabuddin, he also would have been killed in an encounter. He would also keep saying that if he gets a chance, he will escape from prison,” the witness claimed.
When special public prosecutor B P Raju asked him why Prajapati mentioned Hyderabad, the witness said that Prajapati had not said anything more about it.
According to his statement to the CBI, the witness had said in 2010 and 2011 that Prajapati had told him that on the basis of the information he had given to Chudasama, police had came to know about Sohrabuddin’s whereabouts. Also, the witness claimed that Prajapati had told him that the police team had abducted Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi while they were going to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad in a bus. He said that Prajapati was also accompanying them but he was sent to Rajasthan and shown arrested while Sohrabuddin was shown killed in a fake encounter.
Further, the CBI claimed that the witness had earlier said that Prajapati told him that his life was in danger as he was a witness to the abduction, which took place in November 2005.
Denying all these, the witness said that in 2010, his co-inmate Khan had told him that the CBI will give him money and release him from the pending cases if he gives a false statement. Following this, the witness, a wanted accused in multiple cases in Udaipur, was declared hostile by the court. Khan, the co-accused the witness referred to, is also a prosecution witness and currently a wanted accused in a case in Rajasthan.
Another witness, a retired CRPF official, also deposed before the court on Friday. A guard commander of the CRPF premises in Hyderabad in November 2005, he told the court that his duties did not include supervising the guards filling the entry-exit registry. When shown a registry containing the names of four policemen, who had entered the CRPF premises on November 21, 2005, with their vehicles, the witness said he had no knowledge of the same as his duty only included supervising other personnel and guarding the staff. He was also declared hostile by the court.
So far, 169 witnesses have deposed in the case with 91 being declared hostile.