Sohrabuddin fake encounter case: Another witness turns hostile

Mumbai: Yet another prosecution witness in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case on Friday turned hostile in a Mumbai court, taking their number to 53. The witness, Ashok Kumar Bhatnagar, was examined by the Central Bureau of Investigation before special judge S J Sharma in connection with the case of Shaikh and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati, who were killed in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Bhatnagar had been working as a junior clerk in the judicial section of the Collector and District Magistrate’s Office in Udaipur since December 2005. Earlier, in his statement, he had said that the CBI had shown him three letters, including one typed application (in Hindi) dated May 11, 2006, written by Prajapati and two others, and addressed to the collector of Udaipur.

All three were lodged in the Jaipur Central Jail and the application talked about the assault on the three and a few other inmates inside the prison on March 25, 2006. He had further said the application was received through post at the collector’s office on May 16, 2006. It was received by him in the judicial section. After processing it, the application was forwarded to the district superintendent of police for further action.

However, in the court today, he denied being shown any letter by the investigating agency or receiving Prajapati’s application. Following this, the prosecution declared him hostile. The court here has examined 78 witnesses so far, of which 53 have turned hostile. Prajapati was killed in an alleged staged encounter in December 2006.

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