Mumbai: The trend of witnesses turning hostile in the staged encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, does not seem to come to an end. On Monday, three witnesses deposed before the special CBI court, out of which two turned hostile. From November 27, till date a total of 44 prosecution witnesses have entered the witness box to ‘support’ the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI’s) version in the staged killings. But interestingly, at least 31 witnesses have turned hostile and have retracted from their earlier statements.
The trend continued on Monday, when three witnesses – all residents of Gujarat, appeared before special Judge S Sharma, abiding by the summons issued against them. The trio were the ‘panchas’, in the presence of whom, the accused policemen (who executed the encounter) recorded the panchanama (a document which spells out the specifications of the material which the police seizes from a crime scene.)
In the morning session, the pancha who was present at the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) Headquarters, supported the prosecution had spelled out the exact details of the panchnama prepared by the investigating agency. This witness identified the panchnama of the seized weapons. His deposition brought a sigh of relief for the CBI as he did not retracted from his earlier statements.
But soon, the CBI was left red-faced when two witnesses turned hostile within a few minutes. The duo were the panchas who were present while the panchnama of Sohrabuddin’s dead body (post autopsy) was being prepared.
One witness, did supported the prosecution’s case and informed the court that he was present in the ATS Headquarters and he was shown six bottles which contained the viscera (parts of body) of Sohrabuddin’s dead body. He even told the court that the police had taken him to the ATS Headquarters, requesting him to act as a panch in the case.
Surprisingly, this witness was declared hostile only because he could not recall the names of the constable who took him to the headquarters and also of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, who showed him the six bottles. The court would continue examining other witnesses on Tuesday.