“A CBI official, Vishwas Meena, brought me to record my statement under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He threatened to arrest me if I did not give the desired statement,” the witness told the court. (Representational Image)
One more officer of the Rajasthan police on Thursday claimed that he had been threatened by the CBI into giving a false statement in the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati. The officer, a retired sub-inspector with the Rajasthan police, is so far the third witness to accuse the CBI of extracting statements under duress.
In the statement made before a judicial magistrate in Navi Mumbai in 2011, the witness had implicated the then Udaipur SP Dinesh M N, claiming that the SP had told him that a special team would be deputed by him to escort Prajapati for his Ahmedabad court hearing on December 25, 2006. The witness had also claimed that Dinesh had told him that Prajapati will try to escape from custody and hence, the team was being sent.
The Rajasthan police escorting Prajapati had claimed that on the intervening night of December 26 and 27, he had escaped from custody and was subsequently killed on December 28 in an encounter. The CBI claimed that the accused, in a planned conspiracy, had staged Prajapati’s encounter as he was a witness to the abduction of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi in November 2005. Dinesh, currently an Inspector General in Rajasthan, was discharged from the case in August 2017 and the appeal against his discharge is currently pending before the Bombay High Court.
On Thursday, the witness told the court that the CBI had called him for an inquiry and put pressure on him to depose as instructed or face arrest. “A CBI official, Vishwas Meena, brought me to record my statement under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He threatened to arrest me if I did not give the desired statement,” the witness told the court.
On April 5 and May 11, two senior policemen had similarly claimed they were taken before the magistrate in Navi Mumbai and made to depose falsely against a threat of being arrested. Special Public Prosecutor B P Raju suggested to the witness that he was lying about the CBI threat to save the accused, which the witness denied.
The witness told the court that in 2006, he was posted in the reserve police line, which among other duties, also provided escort guards for prisoners to be produced in court. The witness told the court that he had no occasion to allot guards for prisoners during his tenure and that he had only heard of Prajapati after reading about him in newspapers.
In his earlier statement to the CBI, the witness had said that Dinesh had told him on December 24, 2006 over telephone to not depute an escort party for Prajapati and his co-accused Azam Khan the next day, as he would be sending a special team. In court, the witness identified the accused, assistant police inspector Narayan Singh and police constables Yudhveer Singh and Kartar Singh, as officials of Surajpol police station, who sometimes visited the reserve police line, but rejected the CBI’s suggestion that they were part of the police team sent by Dinesh to escort Prajapati in December 2006. The witness was declared hostile by the prosecution.