Senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, arguing for IPS officer Rajkumar Pandian who was discharged by the trial court in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case, on Friday, alleged before the Bombay High Court that the CBI had fabricated evidence.
The high court is hearing petitions filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Rubabuddin Shaikh, Sohrabuddin’s brother, challenging the discharge of five of the 14 accused police officers in the case.
Jethmalani today claimed that statements of several prosecution witnesses were contradictory.
As per the CBI, Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati were abducted and brought to a guest house in Ahmedabad in a silver Toyota Qualis (before the alleged fake encounter) he said.
“Its witnesses gave contradictory statements. Nathuba Jadeja, one of the drivers of the alleged vehicle, said the car was silver-coloured, but in his statement before the Gujarat CID in 2005, Gurdayal Singh, who was Pandian’s driver, said it was a light blue car,” the lawyer said.
“After the CBI took over the probe in 2010, they created a story saying the Qualis was silver-coloured… So, while recording his statement before magistrate, Singh stayed silent on the colour of the car,” the lawyer said.
But in the CBI’s charge sheet, Singh was again quoted as describing the vehicle as light blue, Jethmalani said.
“That is because even in fabricating evidence, the CBI did a shoddy job. It merely copy-pasted Singh’s statement given to the CID in 2005 without realising that the same would contradict the CBI’s own story,” he said.
“The Supreme Court entrusted the CBI with the very important task of filling in the gaps in the Gujarat CID’s probe. However, the CBI went ahead and forged documents and fabricated evidence to suit its case,” Jethmalani alleged.
Jethmalani had alleged yesterday that the story of fake encounter was cooked up by a “politically motivated CBI of that time”.
Sohrabuddin and others had never been abducted by the accused in the first place, the lawyer argued.
The agency also forged the signatures of Pandian and some other accused police officials on the entry register of the CRPF guest house in Hyderabad to show that they had all returned to Hyderabad together on November 29, 2005 after the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi, he said.
Sohrabuddin Shaikh, a gangster with alleged terror links, and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in a suspected fake encounter by the Gujarat police in November 2005. Prajapati was killed in another alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in December 2006.
Of the 38 persons named by the CBI as accused, 15, including senior IPS officers D G Vanzara, Pandian, Dinesh MN, and BJP president Amit Shah, were discharged by the CBI court in Mumbai between August 2016 and September 2017.
The argument before the HC would continue tomorrow.