An investigating officer in the Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case told the special CBI court on Saturday that as part of his investigation, he had learnt that the accused policemen from Rajasthan and Gujarat had not sought or received any information from a telecom company regarding the location of Tulsiram’s phone, which allegedly helped them trace and subsequently kill him.
According to the FIR filed by the police team escorting Tulsiram to jail in December 2006, the deceased had escaped from a moving train near Shyamlaji in Gujarat by throwing chilli powder in their eyes. At the spot, the team had claimed to have found a cellphone, which subsequently led them to Tulsiram on December 28, 2006, when he was killed in an encounter.
After he was killed, a cellphone was found on Tulsiram.Vishwas Meena, a CBI officer, who investigated the case in 2011-12, said that he had written to the nodal officer of the telecom company seeking information on whether the policemen from Rajasthan and Gujarat had sought any assistance in 2006 to trace a number and its location.
“I received a reply from the telecom company that no such information was collected from them,” Meena told the court. He added that another communication with a telecom company revealed that while the Gujarat Police team had sought information regarding one number, the company had not been able to provide any help.
Meena said that he had recorded 90 statements against 38 accused named initially in the case but was deposing on Saturday in regard to the 22 accused who are standing trial. He added that he had collected various documents, including a monthly diary maintained by then Udaipur superintendent Dinesh M N, who has been discharged in the case. To this, Special Public Prosecutor B P Raju told him to leave out evidence pertaining to the discharged accused. In all, 16 people have been discharged in the case.
Meena told the court that he had analysed call data records (CDR) of various numbers and found an “unusual pattern” in the CDR of accused N H Dabhi, a Gujarat Police officer, whose number was found not in use from November 20 and November 24, 2005 — when alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausarbi and his accomplice Tulsiram were allegedly abducted by the policemen from a bus in Sangli. On November 26, 2005, Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed in an encounter. Kausarbi was also allegedly subsequently killed.
Meena added that one number found in Dabhi’s call records was traced to the encounter spot at Narol in Ahmedabad the day Sohrabuddin was allegedly killed.
During cross-examination, defence advocate Wahab Khan asked Meena why despite the witnesses being from Rajasthan, their statements were recorded in Navi Mumbai CBI office in 2011. The defence contended that this was done to pressurise and tutor the witnesses.
Meena, however, denied the claim. Special Judge S J Sharma asked Meena if he was present in the court hall where the statements were recorded. Meena denied this.
Three of the witnesses whose statements were recorded before a magistrate had earlier claimed that CBI officers, including Meena, had pressurised them into giving false statement.