Mumbai: There was no Sohrabuddin Sheikh and no reported encounter took place, going by the number of witnesses that have turned hostile. The trend of witnesses turning hostile continues with one more witness retracting his earlier statement on Tuesday, taking the number to 72 witnesses that have turned hostile in the case so far.
Three witnesses had deposed before the special CBI court on Tuesday, of which one turned hostile while the two others supported the prosecution case. It may be noted that since November 2017, the special court has examined nearly 113 witnesses till date, out of which 72 have been declared hostile.
The three prosecution witnesses – Rakesh Adhikari, Pannabhai Vanzara and Kantibhai Parmar – all residents of Gujarat, had deposed before special Judge Sunil Sharma. During the examination, Adhikari, who works at a cinema hall retracted from his earlier version.
In his statements before CBI, Adhikari, a panch witness, had stated he was taken to various places and was shown the site where Kausar Bi’s body was allegedly disposed. He had claimed that he was shown a video of the sites and then his signatures were taken on the panchnama.
Having stepped into the witness box, Adhikari told the court he signed a document, purported to be a panchnama after it was brought to him in the cinema hall by some police officers. He told the court that he was never taken to any place for recce. Taking his testimony on record, the special judge accordingly declared Adhikari hostile since he had retracted from his earlier statements.
Meanwhile, the CBI sighed some sigh of relief as other two witnesses – Parmar and Vanzara supported the central agency’s case.
Hearing on pleas against discharge of cops from July 4
The Bombay High Court will resume hearing from July 4 on a bunch of revision petitions challenging the discharge of some senior police officers accused in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh. Three petitions filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin and two of the CBI were left part heard when assignments of some judges in the high court were changed suddenly in February. However, the pleas were mentioned on Wednesday jointly by advocates for the petitioners and the respondents (the discharged police officers), before a single bench presided by Justice A M Badar. Justice Badar then scheduled July 4 as the next date for a detailed hearing on the revision petitions, CBI lawyer Sandesh Patil said