Before the alleged “fake” encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati, policemen had threatened to kill him, a witness told the court Monday. The witness, a childhood friend of Tulsiram’s nephew, Kundan Prajapati, said that the police arrested the two in a false case to prevent them from travelling with Tulsiram for court hearings. The police allegedly threatened to kill them too, said the witness.
On Monday, the 28-year-old witness was brought to court from a jail in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, where he is currently lodged. The witness told the court that in 2006, he along with Kundan went to Udaipur central jail to meet Tulsiram. He said that subsequently, the two went to Udaipur railway station as per instructions of Tulsiram to accompany him for a court hearing in Ahmedabad. The witness told the court that they were to travel on the same train as Tulsiram as he had expressed apprehension of being killed in a staged encounter by the police.
The witness made the claim during the hearing of the case in the Bombay High Court. He claimed that he was arrested in a false case to prevent him from travelling with Prajapati for court hearings. Prajapati’s nephew, the witness’ childhood friend, was also arrested with him, he alleged.
“Tulsiram had told us that since he was a witness in the abduction of his associate Sohrabuddin Sheikh and [Sheikh’s wife] Kausarbi, policemen wanted to kill him in an encounter,” the witness said. “Just when Kundan [Prajapati’s nephew] and I were to board a train, some policemen dressed in civil clothes stopped us and took us in a jeep to the Surajpol police station. Both of us were beaten up continuously and detained for 20-25 days.”
The 28-year-old witness said the police had threatened to kill them too. He is currently in an Indore jail.
On Monday, the Bombay High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to clear its stand on the review petitions filed by Sheikh’s brother in connection with the case, PTI reported.
Rubabuddin Sheikh had challenged the discharge of former Inspector General of Gujarat DG Vanzara and police officers Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN. Vanzara has retired, while the other two still serve in the Rajasthan Police. The CBI has filed two petitions, challenging the discharge of a Rajasthan police constable and a Gujarat police officer.
Justice AM Badar is conducting daily hearings on all the five petitions. Lawyers for Rubabuddin Sheikh and Pandian had concluded their arguments last week.
When the hearing began on Monday, Badar asked the CBI whether it had anything to say on Pandian’s case, but the CBI said it was concerned only with the two pleas it had filed. At this, Badar said the agency represented the prosecution in the case and so, it must make arguments on all the pleas.
“We are dealing with the killings of three persons [Sheikh, his wife and aide] here,” Badar said. “You will have to make your stand clear on whether or not these officers should have faced trial considering the evidence in your charge sheet.”
Rubabuddin Sheikh’s lawyer opposed the discharge of Dinesh on Monday, arguing that he had played a key role in helping execute the conspiracy to kill Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
He said the police then arrested them under the NDPS Act. “We were sent to Udaipur central jail where Tulsiram was lodged. He told us that while we were detained, he had informed various authorities including the Ahmedabad court, about the arrest. He would tell us that he will be killed by the police. Before a day of his encounter, he was taken to Ahmedabad for a court hearing. We later came to know about his death,” the witness told the court.