Mumbai: A special CBI court here on Thursday recorded the testimony of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) officer who had examined the spot where Tulsiram Prajapati was killed in an alleged fake encounter in December 2006. Gulam Sheikh, the then in charge of FSL mobile van unit, Palanpur (Gujarat) deposed as prosecution witness before special CBI judge S J Sharma. Sheikh stood by his earlier statement given to the CBI. He told court that the function of his unit was to visit the crime scene and guide the investigating officer in collection and preservation of evidence.
According to the CBI, Sheikh said he had received a call on his mobile phone from Ambaji police station on the morning of December 28, 2006 and was asked to reach Ambaji for collection of evidence in a police firing case. Accordingly, he called the driver of the FSL mobile van, Bhirajibhai, to his residence. The duo then proceeded to Ambaji police station and reached there at around 10:30 AM. They met police officer AM Patel at the police station and then reached the crime spot, Sahrad Chhapri, near the Rajasthan border, about 4 kilometres from Ambaji.
At the alleged firing spot, he saw a jeep, whose left indicator was broken. There was also one hit mark near the radiator of the vehicle. Sheikh also found a country-made pistol and empty cartridges. The investigating officer was asked to videograph the scene and it was done accordingly.
From there he went to Ambaji hospital where he inspected the injuries on the body of Prajapati. Sheikh told the court that a handwash of the body, to determine presence of nitrate/gun powder, was not done. It was due to the fact that the post mortem of the body had already been conducted and, therefore, handwash would have been of no use.
The witness further told court that he cannot identify any articles as he didn’t collect them, but had asked the investigating officer to do it and have them sent to the FSL. The central probe agency has so far examined 136 witnesses, of which 85 have turned hostile. Sohrabuddin, an alleged gangster, 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.
According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin was killed in a fake encounter and Kausar Bi too was killed later. Prajapati, Sohrabuddin’s aide, who was said to be a witness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006.