A police constable from Rajasthan on Tuesday denied that the CBI had taken his statement in the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati. The constable, a prosecution witness, was declared hostile after over an hour of his deposition.
According to the CBI, in 2006, the constable was posted in Surajpole police station in Udaipur, which had the jurisdiction of Udaipur central jail. The CBI claims that on November 11, 2006, the constable was told by his senior at the police station that the then Superintendent of Police, Udaipur, Dinesh MN, had ordered for a police escort team to be sent to Ahmedabad along with two prisoners. The witness on Tuesday accepted that his senior, circle inspector Himmat Singh, had told him that he was to join him as part of an escort team to take two prisoners – Mohammed Azam and Tulsiram Prajapati – to Ahmedabad but denied being told that it was on the direction of Dinesh MN. Dinesh MN, who was named as an accused in the case, was discharged in August 2017. An appeal against his discharge is pending before the Bombay High Court.
The witness told the court that he was part of the escort team along with his senior Singh and another colleague from Surajpole and 8-10 guards from the reserve line, who were usually given the duty of escorting prisoners. He denied that other officials of the Rajasthan police had met this team or accompanied them to Ahmedabad from Udaipur. The CBI claims that on the day of the journey on November 12, 2006, officials including accused police inspector Abdul Rehman and constables Kartar Singh and Yudhveer Singh, met the escort team at Ahmedabad railway station. The witness also denied that his senior had told him that Tulsiram may escape from custody and hence they have to be very cautious. The witness also denied being shown any roznama where an entry was made regarding the arrival and departure of the team from Udaipur to Ahmedabad” “The CBI never took my statement. I was only asked about my family, and where I was posted. The CBI officials did not ask other details,” the witness claimed. He also denied being shown any railway warrant to prove who all had travelled with the team to Ahmedabad. The witness denied the suggestion that he was lying as he wanted to save the accused.
According to the CBI, Tulisram was escorted several times to Ahmedabad court for a hearing in a firing case where he was an accused and a perception was created by the accused as part of their conspiracy to show that he was going to try to escape. On the intervening night of 26 and 27 December 2006, the Rajasthan police claimed Tulsiram had tried to escape from custody and was killed on December 28 in an encounter. The CBI claims that Tulsiram was killed in a staged encounter as he was a witness to the abduction of his associate Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kausarbi in November 2005. So far, 85 prosecution witnesses have deposed of which 58 have turned hostile.