Sohrabuddin fake encounter case: Special Court closes matter for judgment

Mumbai: A special court on Wednesday closed the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and associate Tulsiram Prajapati. The special court is likely to pronounce its judgment in the case by the end of this month. Just before CBI judge SJ Sharma is expected to retire.

The “politically sensitive” case has grabbed eyeballs after prosecution witnesses continued to turn hostile, on a daily basis. In one year of the trial, over 700 witnesses cited, 210 were examined, 92 prosecution witnesses turned hostile, examined by special judge Sharma. Sohrabuddin was killed in a fake encounter in November 2005 along with his wife, after the couple was allegedly abducted by the police officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, at the behest of senior IPS officers of the states. His associate, Prajapati was killed a year later.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while probing the three murders, had arrested several top officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan police, along with the police officers of the states. The central agency had also arrested BJP president Amit Shah in the case. The case has a “chequered history” with over 16 accused of the total 38 including Shah, getting discharged from the case. The only 22 accused, who are facing trial now are the senior police inspectors and constables from Gujarat and Rajasthan police.

The case was hit with several controversies with witnesses turning hostile on a regular basis and several witnesses seeking police protection before deposing in the court. Some witnesses including the mother of Tulsiram Prajapati and also the brother of Sohrabuddin have chosen not to depose before the court claiming they have “no trust” in the court as well as the prosecution, given the fact that several accused have been discharged from the case. Not to forget, the “arbitrary” order passed by special Judge Sunil Sharma, restraining media from covering the court proceedings.

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