Three brothers of Sohrabuddin Shaikh again failed to appear before the court as prosecution witnesses on Saturday. Nayamuddin, Rubabuddin and Shahnawazuddin were scheduled to appear as witnesses in the alleged fake encounter case of their brother and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati. Special Judge S J Sharma called it a “delay tactic to protract the trial”. He also rapped the CBI for not being able to provide substantial answers on their whereabouts and said no further summons or warrants would be issued against them. Along with the three brothers, another witness — a former jail co-inmate of Prajapati — also did not appear before the court.
“Despite the repeated obtaining of summons and warrants as per record, it can be said that these witnesses are avoiding their appearance in court and the prosecution is unable to trace them. This appears to be a delaying tactic to protract the trial. In this situation, the court has to balance the prosecution as well as the defence. The court cannot dance at the wish and whim of the prosecution to adjourn the case,” the court said. The court further directed the CBI to produce them as witnesses before the court by giving prior notice to the court and the defence.
Last month, an NBW was issued against Nayamuddin, after he had failed to appear before the court despite repeated summons since November, when he was first slated to depose as a prosecution witness at the beginning of the trial.
On August 6, through an advocate, Rubabuddin had submitted that he and Nayamuddin had met with an accident in Madhya Pradesh on July 24 and both had been advised bed rest. On Saturday, advocate Anjali Awasthi, representing Nayamuddin, told the court that he had suffered injuries on his head, leg and back. She submitted that he was taken to a doctor in Ahmedabad on the advice of doctors in Ujjain. She also submitted his medical certificates.
Special Public Prosecutor B P Raju submitted before the court that the CBI would verify this claim. He also told the court that as per a report submitted by the superintendent of Ujjain, Rubabuddin and Nayamuddin were not present at their homes. He further said even summons to Shahnawazuddin, who had himself made a plea before the court earlier, seeking to be examined as a witness, were not served. The court was informed that summons sent through post were seen to have reached Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, but no further update on whether they had been delivered was available.
In terms of the importance of their deposition, Nayamuddin had spoken in his previous statements about Sohrabuddin’s visit to Hyderabad along with wife Kausarbi in November 2005. It was from Hyderabad that the two took a bus for Sangli in Maharashtra, from which they had been abducted and subsequently killed by the accused, as per the CBI. Both Rubabuddin and Shahnawazuddin had in their statements claimed to have received blank signed papers by Prajapati, who had allegedly told them about the threat to his life as he had witnessed the abduction of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi. Rubabuddin had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court, based on which the investigation into his brother’s death had begun.
The jail co-inmate in his statement had also mentioned Prajapati speaking about the threat to his life. Meanwhile, two witnesses deposed before the court on Saturday. One of them, a head constable, was in charge of the arms and ammunition section of the Udaipur police in 2006. He submitted before the court that a register was maintained to record the issuance of weapons and ammunition to policemen on the basis of a form on its use. When shown the entries in the register of December 25, 2006, the witness told the court it said Assistant Sub-Inspector Narayan Singh was given one revolver and 12 rounds.
He, however, said that the entry was not in his handwriting. He also failed to identify the form submitted by the accused policeman, Singh, seeking issuance of the weapon and rounds. The witness further said that a corresponding entry had been made on December 30, 2006 by him, according to which Singh had returned six rounds and stated that the weapon and the remaining six rounds were seized in a case.
The CBI claims that Singh and others had fired at the train compartment, claiming that Prajapati had escaped from it. The second witness submitted before the court that he had signed on the leave applications of Singh and constables Dalpat Singh, Kartar Singh and Yudhvir Singh. He submitted that three of them had claimed casual leave from December 30 for five days, while Kartar Singh sought seven-day leave. The CBI alleged that the policemen had been involved with the staged encounter of Prajapati. Dalpat Singh was discharged from the case by a trial court and the CBI had challenged the order.