Sohrabuddin case: Witness seeks court permission to depose at non-scheduled time

Special Judge S J Sharma sought the CBI stand on Khan’s plea after keeping his letter for consideration.

A key witness in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati sent a letter to the court through his wife on Monday, claiming that pressure was being mounted on him from various quarters and there was a threat to his life.

Along with Sohrabuddin and Prajapati, the 40-year-old prosecution witness was a co-accused in the Hamid Lala murder case. He was a close friend of Sohrabuddin and also an inmate at Udaipur central jail when Prajapati was lodged there till the latter’s death in an alleged encounter in December 2006. The CBI had earlier summoned the man but he was not traceable.

On Monday, his 36-year-old wife deposed as a prosecution witness and handed over a one-page letter in Hindi, which she said had been written by her husband. She told the court that her husband was facing a lot of pressure against deposing before the court.

 

“The police have registered five false cases against him to put pressure on him. All these recent cases have only been filed to ensure he does not appear as a witness in this case. Rajneta aur police unpe pressure dal rahe hai gawaahi na dene ke liye (Politicians and police are putting pressure on him against deposing in the case). He wants to come and depose but his safety should be assured,” she told the court. She requested that her husband be safely brought to court and escorted back.

The CBI had earlier told the court that since he was a wanted accused in several cases in Rajasthan, he had not been traceable. He is supposed to depose before the court this week as per schedule.

In the letter addressed to the court and the prosecution, the man said he knew the truth about the alleged encounters and wanted to appear before the court as a witness. He further said he was scared of coming to the court as he feared that he would also be killed in an encounter or will be falsely implicated in a criminal ca

Salma, who deposed before the court today, produced a handwritten application in Hindi.

She claimed the letter was written by her husband and he had stated in it that he knew the reason behind the killing of Sheikh and Prajapati.

“I want to personally come and depose before the court, but I have a fear that these people will do my encounter or they can frame me in a big case,” Khan’s letter stated.

“Hence, I cannot depose before court on a specific date. I request the court to record my statement whenever I come,” the letter added.

The special CBI court has so far examined 119 witnesses in the alleged twin fake encounter cases.

Of these, over 70 witnesses have turned hostile.

Sheikh, a suspected gangster with terror links, and his wife, Kauser Bi, were killed in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat police in November 2005.

His aide, Prajapati, too was killed in another alleged fake encounter by the personnel from the Gujarat and the Rajasthan police in December 2006.

Of the 38 people charged by the CBI, 15, including senior IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, Dinesh MN, and BJP chief Amit Shah (then the Minister of State for Home in Gujarat) have been discharged by the court.

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