The trial was conducted in an open court for the first time after the Bombay High Court set aside the CBI judge’s November 29 order which had restrained the media from reporting the proceedings.
A roadside hotel owner today deposed for the prosecution in the CBI court here. However, since he did not support the prosecution’s case, he was declared hostile. He was the 29th witness to be declared hostile in the controversial case. As many as 28 witnesses had turned hostile during the two months when the trial was being conducted without any media coverage.
So far, 41 witnesses have been examined in the case.
According to the CBI, the present witness had seen Tulsiram Prajapati — one of the victims of alleged fake encounters — in a police car, but in the court he did not support the prosecution’s case.
Shaikh, a gangster with alleged terror links, and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra in November, 2005. Shaikh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar while his wife disappeared.
Prajapati, an aide of Shaikh’s and eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006.
The trial court has discharged several accused in the case, including some senior IPS officers and BJP president Amit Shah.
Special CBI judge B H Loya, who was handling the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, reportedly died of heart attack in November, 2014 in Nagpur. However, political parties, including the Congress, have alleged that he died in mysterious circumstances and demanded an investigation into the matter.