The noose is tightening around arrested DIG DG Vanzara and others for another ‘fake encounter’ -- that of Tulsiram Prajapati, who was the sole eyewitness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. Tulsiram was Sohrabuddin’s friend and was allegedly with him and Kauser Bi when the police had picked the couple from a bus.
The Criminal Investigation Department (Crime) team probing the case has reportedly found more evidence to establish that Tulsiram’s killing near Ambaji in north Gujarat was a fake encounter.
The earlier interim report filed with the Supreme Court following Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin’s writ petition had already raised doubts over the police version that two accomplices of Tulsiram had thrown chilly powder in the eyes of the accompanying policemen to secure his release while he was being escorted back from Ahmedabad to Udaipur jail in the wee hours of December 27, 2006. As per the police version, Tulsiram was shot when he had fired at a police party patrolling near Ambaji on December 28, 2006.
The inquiry report, prepared under the instruction of the apex court, had described the police firing and the resultant death of Tulsiram as “highly suspicious”. The CID report has clearly indicated “collusion” of officials of Gujarat and Rajasthan police, which makes the killing of Tulsiram suspicious. Explaining the relevance of Tulsiram’s killing to the case, the probe report said he was a ‘material witness’ to the killing of Sohrabuddin and disappearance of Kausar Bi.
It was also learnt that Tulsiram had informed Rubabuddin that he was called by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to a flat in Danilimda area to identify Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi on November 24, 2005, just two days before Sohrabuddin was killed.
Tulsiram’s mother Narmada Bai is hopeful that the killers of her son would be brought to book. “My son was a criminal but not a terrorist,” she said. She said Tulsiram was murdered brutally, and added that signs of bullets were seen in his forehead when the body was brought in Ahmedabad. “If it was an encounter, was he fleeing backwards?” she asked.
Tulsiram, who hails from Ujjain, was a history-sheeter in local police files. His Tulsi's house in a slum is now drawing attention. "We are not rich like Sohrabuddin's family to go for a legal battle. I could only plead with the government for justice," she said.
(With inputs from Sandeep Vatsa in Ujjain)