Senior Counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, representing former Gujarat SP Rajkumar Pandian, who was discharged in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case in 2016, told the Bombay High Court on Friday that they will submit additional evidence, in the form of depositions by witnesses examined before the special CBI court conducting the trial in the case.
The court was hearing a revision plea filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, challenging the discharge of Pandian, former Gujarat DGP D G Vanzara and IPS officer Dinesh M N. So far, of the 136 witnesses examined during the trial, 83 have turned hostile.
Representing Pandian, Jethamalani said that some witnesses have retracted their previous statements made against senior IPS officers, including Pandian, and it should be considered as an additional evidence by the court.
The lawyer added that he will submit the additional evidence under Section 391 of Criminal Procedure Code, which says that appellate court may take further evidence or direct it to be taken.
To this, Justice A M Badar said: “We have to go through the prosecution’s case reflected in the chargesheet and consider whether that is sufficient today or not.” Jethmalani said, “Reliability of the witness is something that can be fortified by the subsequent event of what actually happened in trial court. Trial court having recorded the evidence, the revisional court (HC) can use that evidence to fortify its order of discharge or no discharge.”
While asking Jethmalani to submit the additional evidence, Justice Badar said the court will consider later whether or not it should be accepted. The court also asked Rubabuddin’s lawyer Gautam Tiwari to give his submissions on “how such material is relevant”.
Earlier this week, lawyer Raja Thakare, representing Dinesh MN, had told court that it should consider that the key witness, relied upon by Tiwari, had turned hostile in the special CBI court. But Justice Badar had refused to consider it saying that the court would not let defence take the advantage of anybody, who has turned hostile.
On Friday, Jethmalani argued that the CBI had concocted the story of Pandian’s visit to Hyderabad for the purpose of abducting Sohrabuddin in 2005. Maintaining that Pandian was in the city to investigate the 2005 Begumpet blast, Jethmalani said that of the 32 passengers in the bus, from which Sohrabuddin was allegedly abducted, none had identified Pandian.
Alleging that the CBI probe was malafide, he said: “The premier probe agency has a history of working on a premeditated mandate and truth comes out in trial. In the Ishrat Jahan case, the CBI locked horns with the Intelligence Bureau. So, it is not hard to believe that it fabricated evidence in the present case.”
The court will continue to hear the arguments on the discharge of Dinesh MN on Monday.