In the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, the special court on Monday rapped the CBI and directed its superintendent to remain present before it during the trial on Tuesday.
The court’s directions came after the lawyers for the accused pointed out “discrepancies” in CBI’s submission of documents pertaining expert witnesses in the case.
Last week, the CBI — represented by special public prosecutor B P Raju — had filed an application before the court under Section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) and submitted a list of 34 documents, which it sought to admit instead of summoning the respective witnesses. The CBI, in its plea, said that it was doing so to save the time of the court and submitted that the accused be directed to admit the documents as admissible under Section 293 of CrPc. This section covers reports of certain government scientific experts, specifically mentioned in its provisions, including any chemical examiner or assistant examiner to the government, director, deputy director or assistant director of a central forensic or state forensic science laboratory.
On Monday, defence advocates representing the accused pointed out to the court that the CBI had also included other documents violating Section 293. “The section pertains to certain scientific experts from the government but the CBI has included documents where opinion is given by a doctor or that of an NGO worker,” said Rajesh Bindra, advocate representing accused Gujarat policeman Ashish Pandya.
The list submitted by the CBI includes call data records, CDs with photographs and videos.
Advocate Wahab Khan, representing accused Abdul Rehman, told the court that this was an attempt by the CBI to make a ‘backdoor entry’ with evidence that it had earlier forgotten to bring on record.
The lawyers also said that the documents contained reports that are “contradictory” to the documents exhibited before the court during the trial so far. Raju told the court that he will remove the other documents, which do not fall under the purview of the section.
Further, the defence advocates questioned whether the CBI had obtained a proper certificate under the Evidence Act from the nodal officers, who will be appearing as prosecution witnesses in the case on Tuesday. Special Judge S J Sharma rapped the CBI asking why it had wasted the court’s time by adding such documents to the list and directed for the SP to remain present before it on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, two Gujarat policemen deposed before the court as prosecution witnesses on Monday in connection to the Prajapati alleged fake encounter case. Both were attached to Ambaji police station on December 27, 2006 and were on night patrol duty. While one of them, the driver of the patrol duty vehicle, told the court that he had seen a police jeep, the second witness denied seeing any vehicle in Ambaji.
The accused policemen have claimed that they had visited the spot after receiving information about Prajapati’s location and killed him in a cross-fire thereafter. A third witness, who was part of the team in the vehicle on that night, was not examined by the prosecution despite being present in the court.