Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case: 50 of 73 witnesses declared hostile so far
In a major setback for the prosecution, 50 of the 73 witnesses examined in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case have turned hostile so far.
On Wednesday, the prosecution was scheduled to examine three witnesses. However, the CBI could not trace address of one of the witnesses who is a government official. The court has asked the agency to make further attempts to trace him.
The prosecution examined two witnesses, of which one, who allegedly witnessed the abduction of Shaikh and his wife Kausarbi, was declared hostile.
The couple along with Shaikh’s close aide Tulsiram Prajapati had boarded a bus for Sangli from Hyderabad on November 22, 2005. The prosecution on Wednesday examined their co-passenger Manjusha Apte
In her statement to various authorities, she had said the bus was stopped at midnight and three passengers – two men and one woman in a burkha – were asked to get down. She further said in her statement they did not board the bus again.
Apte on Wednesday went back on her statement and claimed she slept through the entire journey. “It was a night journey and I slept in the bus. I don’t know the points where the bus stopped,” Apte said. She further said that she did not recollect the police stopping the bus.
Meanwhile, the prosecution also examined lawyer Salim Khan who represented Prajapati in Hamid Lala murder case.
Khan said when Prajapati was remanded in judicial custody in November 2005, he had, with permission of the court, spoken to Prajapati. “Prajapati told me that Shaikh was traced by police after obtaining his location from him. Shaikh was later killed in an encounter,” Khan told the court, adding Prajapati apprehended that he too would be killed by the police.
Khan told the court that on January 27, 2006, they filed an application before the magistrate of Udaipur about Prajapati’s apprehensions. Khan also told the court that a few months after Sohrabuddin’s encounter, Prajapati was threatened by Rajasthan police officers.