The special CBI court hearing the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case on Thursday issued a bailable warrant against a witness after he failed to appear before it. The witness was in connection with Sohrabuddin’s associate, Tulsiram Prajapati — who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter — and was served summons to appear before the court on Thursday. Special public prosecutor B P Raju informed the court that the CBI had not been able to contact the witness after the summons were served. Raju said the witness’ phone was not reachable earlier and since Thursday, he has not answered the calls made by CBI officials.Raju sought for a warrant to be issued against the witness to ensure his presence before the court by next week. Special Judge S J Sharma issued the bailable warrant. Raju said that authorities in Jodhpur, where the witness currently stays, will be directed to execute the warrant.
The witness was the co-inmate of Prajapati in 2006 in Udaipur Central Jail. As per the CBI, he had helped Prajapati draft letters sent to various authorities, including the National Human Rights Commission, before his death, regarding the threat to his life. The CBI claims that since Prajapati had witnessed the abduction of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi in 2005, he was killed by the accused including officials of Rajasthan and Gujarat police in conspiracy in December 2006.
While he was lodged in jail, Prajapati had written to various authorities regarding threat to his life. So far, two other co-inmates of Prajapati deposed before the court in April, but denied ever being told by him about the threats. Other co-accused of Prajapati have remained untraced so far.
On Thursday, two policemen from Rajasthan, who had been part of the police team escorting Prajapati from Udaipur jail to a court in Ahmedabad, deposed before the court. The first official, a constable with Surajpole police station, said he was part of the team of 14 persons formed to investigate cases of theft and burglary in Udaipur.
He also said that he had travelled on two occasions as part of the escort team to take Prajapati and his co-accused Azam Khan to Ahmedabad. He identified police inspector Abdul Rehman and constables Kartar Singh, Yudhvir Singh and assistant sub-inspector Narayan Singh present in court, as persons who were part of the team and are currently accused in the case. He also identified Rehman to be the person who was with the escort team accompanying Prajapati. The second witness who was part of the escort team on one occasion also identified Rehman.
Both the witnesses told the court that Prajapati’s conduct during the visits to court were “unnatural”. “Tulsiram Prajapati was constantly asking to be taken to the bathroom and for the handcuffs to be removed from his hand each of the times. We were briefed that there is a possibility of him escaping or an attempt to help him escape or attack on the guards,” the witnesses said. The CBI claims that a perception was created regarding Prajapati’s escape bid as part of the conspiracy and subsequently, it was shown that he had tried to escape and was killed in an encounter in December 2006.