Tulsiram Prajapati, a fugitive according to Gujarat police, tried to hijack a police jeep with a yellow beacon. When nine policemen emerged from the jeep to challenge Prajapati, he engaged them in an exchange of fire while his two unidentified accomplices scooted. Earlier, the two had used chilly powder — instead of firearms — to help Prajapati escape his police escorts.
These are some of the details in two FIRs filed by Gujarat’s Railway Police Station (Ahmedabad) and Banaskantha police regarding the alleged escape of prisoner Prajapati on December 26, 2006, and his death in a police encounter two days later.
The CBI has rejected these details as allegedly fictitious.
According to the FIRs, Prajapati was lodged in jail in Udaipur, Rajasthan, and on December 26 taken to Ahmedabad to attend a court hearing on his alleged involvement in a firing incident at Navrangpura. On the way back, the train stopped at Himmat Nagar station when two unidentified men boarded and “threw chilly powder in the eyes of the policemen and succeeded in securing the release of Tulsiram Prajapati”.
Later, according to the Banaskantha police’s FIR, a Special Operations Group (SOG) team that was patrolling Ambaji town saw three men trying to stop a matador on Sharhad Chapri road. The three — one was identified as Prajapati by SOG sub-inspector Naransinh Fatehsinh — allegedly tried to stop a police jeep. In the ensuing encounter, Prajapati was killed and his two accomplices fled.
Punching holes in the FIRs, a CBI officer said: “The FIRs are full of loopholes and indicates Prajapati was killed in a fake encounter.”
“…The FIR does not specify whether Fatehsinh was in the police jeep. In case he was, even then he could not have identified Prajapati at 5 am with the aide of the jeep’s headlight.”
He said it was strange why armed men would use chilly powder to rescue Prajapati.
“It is no coincidence that Prajapati allegedly loitered in Banaskantha when DG Vanzara got transferred there on December 13, 2006, from ATS… Vanzara (allegedly) spoke to the then SP, Banaskantha district, and arranged the said encounter,” said the officer.